EVENT – Oct 2 – Sierra Club Meeting- Ron Eber speaks on the Wilderness Act 50 years on.

October 2nd –  You are invited to a potluck with the North Olympic Group of the Sierra Club to be held at the Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 North Blake Avenue in Sequim (next to Carrie Blake Park).
 
Social hour begins at 5:30 PM. Please bring a potluck dish to share and it would be helpful to bring your own plate, cup, and table ware. Members and friends of the Sierra Club are invited.
After the potluck, we will feature the following program:

Ron Eber, Historian for the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club, will present a program on the Wilderness Act. On the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act, Ron’s talk will explore the work of John Muir and the pioneer conservationists of Washington who laid the foundation for all the wilderness we have protected since his time. Muir’s earlier wilderness and park campaigns will also be looked at to see what lessons we have learned and can continue to use in the future.

 
Ron holds a degree in Geography from California State University at Northridge and a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon. From 1976 – 2008, he was the Farm and Forest Lands Specialist for the Oregon Department of La
 
We hope to see you there.
 
Darlene Schanfald, Board Member
Sierra Club – North Olympic Group

EVENT: Ocean health forum is Oct. 7 at NW Maritime Center – PT Leader

I’ll be introducing the event on Tuesday. Hope you all can make it. It should be a very interesting evening. – Al

Learn about the science of changing ocean chemistry and its effects on sea life, with examples of local efforts to combat the problem. The Northwest Straits Commission and Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) host a community forum on ocean health, 6:30-8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 7 at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water. Doors open at 6 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, and all ages are welcome. To learn more about this event and the Jefferson County MRC, visit jeffersonmrc.org. (Port Townsend Leader)

http://www.ptleader.com/news/ocean-health-forum-is-oct-at-nwmc/article_a26b4938-48f1-11e4-8204-001a4bcf6878.html

EVENT: Premiere of “Return of the River” on the Elwha Dam Removal

My friend and fellow filmmaker John Gussman has completed his epic film on the removal of the Elwha dam. Come see his film in Port Townsend

Friday, 6:30 p.m., Rose Theatre
Saturday, 12:15 p.m., Peter Simpson Free Cinema

“Return of the River” is a feature documentary that tells the story of the largest dam removal and river restoration project in history, currently unfolding on the Elwha River in Washington State. The film explores an extraordinary community effort to set the river free, and shows an unlikely victory for environmental justice. Told by an ensemble cast of characters, “Return of the River” offers hope amid grim environmental news.

Find us on facebook at facebook.com/ReturnOfTheRiver

EVENT – Oct 7 – Community Forum on Ocean Health


Ocean_Health_Forum-100714

Please join us for a free evening event featuring guest speakers Dr. Simone Alin, Supervisory Oceanographer at NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Lab; and Betsy Peabody, the Director of Puget Sound Restoration Fund. You’ll learn about changes in the marine waters of Puget Sound, and what’s being done to address them by some of the amazing people who live and work here.

Tuesday, October 7

6:30 PM-8:00 PM (Doors open at 6 PM)

Northwest Maritime Center

Maritime Meeting Room (2nd floor of yellow building)

Port Townsend, WA 98368

This event is sponsored by the Northwest Straits Commission, Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee (MRC), and Puget Sound Restoration Fund.

All are welcome.

Caroline Gibson    –    Marine Program Manager

Northwest Straits Commission

431 Water Street

Port Townsend, WA 98368

360.385.1153 (PT office)

www.nwstraits.org

EVENT -March to demand more climate change action – Port Townsend

Sent to me today: if you are on the Peninsula, this could be a good alternative to driving a long ways for a climate change event! Go by bike, take a bus, or walk! At least carpool.

Please join us at the People’s Climate March this Sunday, Sept 21, 3 – 4:30, at Pope Marine Park.  We will be joining thousands of people like us marching at the United Nations in NYC and at other marches around the world.  Our message is simple:

 
NOW IS THE TIME FOR STRONG ACTIONS TO CURB GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE
We will be joined by tribal representatives especially concerned about the future of the Salish Sea – our local waters.  Bring your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers so that all our voices can be heard.
PT Climate March

‘Tides of Change’ explores the health of ocean waters off North Olympic Peninsula – PDN

“Tides of Change” is a new Science Minute Movie by the North Coast and Cascades Science Learning Network that takes viewers behind-the-scenes of Olympic National Park with coastal ecologist Steve Fradkin as he traverses “one of the most wild, scenic coastlines in North America” to monitor the health of the park’s rocky intertidal community. (Peninsula Daily News)

Read the whole story:

http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140317/NEWS/140319981/video-8212-tides-of-change-explores-the-health-of-ocean-waters

Environmental Lobby Day is no more…

Washington Environmental Council (WEC), who took over the remains of People For Puget Sound after it’s collapse  a few years ago, continued the long running and highly successful Environmental Lobby Day in Olympia. No longer.  WEC has determined that the event needs to die to continue to live. So they are running a new program this year, called 60 Days/60 Ways Action Plan. Here’s how they describe it:

Get Involved! 60 Days/60 Ways Action Plan
This legislative session we’re trying something new and exciting. We’re going to be interacting with legislators throughout the entire session. We have 60 days and 60 ways to help. What does this mean for you? We know you’re busy and time is limited, so whether it’s volunteering one evening at a phone bank, sharing a post on social media, or attending your local town-hall meeting, we’re giving legislators 60 days and you 60 ways to get involved.

Doorbell Days
Every Priority campaign will have at least one doorbell day during this legislative session. These days will entail passing out campaign information to targeted voters in the legislators’ own backyards.

Town Halls
Organized by your local legislators, we have two goals: to pack the room with constituents, and get at least one activist to the microphones to ask a question on each Priority.

Local Party Meetings
This includes attending legislators’ party meetings (both Democrat and Republican) and asking to put our issues on the agenda when appropriate.

Constituent Meetings
Every week during the legislative session we will have one weekly grasstop constituent meeting with a targeted legislator at their office in Olympia. The meetings will be a chance to talk about each Priority.

Phonebanks
Most phonebanks will be run out of offices in Seattle, but option may be available to call at home. Phonebanks will call voters in targeted areas to educate the public and legislators on our Priority campaigns.

Literature Drops
Each Priority will have at least one ‘drop’ day in Olympia. A local team of volunteers will canvas the campus with literature or some related item, infographic, or educational piece that will be distributed to all legislators.

Social Media Shares – Facebook/Twitter
Campaigns will develop weekly Facebook and Twitter feeds that will be posted and sent to share. They will include pictures, graphics, interesting facts, or links to action alerts.

You can sign up if interested, here: http://environmentalpriorities.org/

Last year, over 300 people attended Environmental Lobby Day, spending time learning about issues, meeting with their State Senators and Representatives.  I’m hoping that the folks at WEC/P4PS will make sure they have their metrics for the success of this new idea dialed in. I always had a lot of good feedback from people who came to the Lobby Day, and it introduced people to their elected officials, as well as to their power in calling for change. Losing the momentum of Environmental Lobby Day to push out to a indistinct cloud of people who you hope will actually take actions over a much longer period of time is fraught with possible problems. Hoping that we see some real successes with this tactic.

Along those lines, as posted here elsewhere, Representative Kevin Van De Wege is going to be holding a public meeting in Port Townsend to discuss his involvement with the Toxic Coalition leader Laurie Valerino at the PT Community Center. See the other post here for details.

Earth Economics – A new way of valuing ecosystems

David Batker of Earth Economics

David Batker of Earth Economics presents their analysis of Clallam County ecosystems.

The Quarterly meeting of the Strait Environmental Recovery Network (ERN) met on Friday in Port Angeles. The ERN is chartered by the Puget Sound Partnership to get organizations together to prioritize work on recovery projects along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This month, we had David Batker, chief economist and Executive Director, of Earth Economics report on their work done for Clallam County. EE created a report called “Policy Implications of the Economic Benefits of Feeder Bluffs and 12 other Ecosystems” as part of the SMP. Sound boring? Think again…

EE has formed some new models to help understand the economic benefits of these ecosystems and their recovery. This is really revolutionary analysis. Constantly, opposition to environmental programs  rail about how fixing the environment is “too expensive” and “costs jobs”. This analysis turns that on it’s head. It makes it very hard to argue that it isn’t the *right thing* to fix the environment, from a purely economic perspective.

EE has done work around the world, and this is really ground breaking stuff. You can find more about them at http://www.eartheconomics.org.

The entire talk can be downloaded or listened to at:

Report from the Climate Change Front – State Senator Kevin Ranker at the NW Straits Conference

Washington State is in the forefront of the impacts of climate change around the world. In addition to actually feeling the effects, in alarming problems emerging in our waters that are impacting shellfish, we have a state legislature and governor that have demanded and funded serious scientific study along with  a feedback loop to the lawmakers from the Governor’s directives, as well as State law.

It is difficult to collate all the scientific efforts of this funding into a neat package, but once or twice a year, we get a window into that work. The Northwest Straits Initiative, which for over 15 years has brought together scientists, business interests, tribes  and volunteer citizens, holds their annual conference.  These people belong to the Marine Resource Committees  (MRCs) of seven counties, from Snohomish to the Canadian border, and west through the Strait of Juan de Fuca (along with non-NW Straits Initiative managed counties along the Coast). The MRC  representatives  come together to share the stories of their work, and hear a unified program of science efforts that support or influence that work.

This year, the conference attendees, were treated to an update on many of the various climate change issues that they face. As part of our coverage of this important conference, and because the NW Straits does not have the financial capabilities to hold a large public forum, we  at the Olympic Peninsula Environmental News present a series of presentations to you over the next few weeks, to allow the general public to hear what was told to the attendees. Given that the attendees are mainly volunteers (there are a few part time staff members in each jurisdiction to help in project management and grant writing), and come forward from the local communities, for those who are interested in volunteering, or cannot afford the time and money to attend the conference, we will post audio of all the presentations we were able to cover, which was all but two, and in addition, as time allows, we will also post the powerpoint presentations of those speakers who used it.

Washington State Senator Kevin leads off the presentations. Hailing from  San Juan County,  Senator Ranker has been instrumental in providing support with funding and legislation to scientific research and policy guidance on ocean acidification (OA). OA research is a critical to fund, as the effects of the increased acidification, in even small degrees, appears to have serious outcomes on shellfish, which provides over $270 million dollars a year (2010 number), and over 3200 direct jobs, most of them in rural and lower income communities around the Sea.  These jobs also support the wider communities they live in with indirect jobs, in supporting industries.

Senator Ranker’s presentation can be found at the following link. You can listen to it right here, or download it for later listening on any MP3 player, or your tablet or PC. The presentation is 38 minutes long, and Senator Ranker’s slides will likely be available later. It is our opinion that not immediately having his slides will not detract from his message. The Senator is a very humorous and off the cuff speaker.

If you wish to attend any of the monthly MRC meetings in your area, check their local web sites. All meetings are open to the public and are advertised in advance. You can also support the work of the NW Straits Initiative, by donating to the NW Straits Foundation. Their web site is http://www.nwstraits.org and http://www.nwstraits.org/Foundation/About.aspx.

2013 NW Straits Conference Overview

Just got back from a great two days at the NW Straits conference, held in Bellingham. The good folks that steer our Marine Resource Committees always put together a  conference worth attending, and the only unfortunate thing is that they can’t invite the world at large.

Pictured below, Caroline Gibson and Sasha Horst from the NW Straits Commission greet attendees, while Jefferson County Commissioner and ex-fisherman, Phil Johnson discusses net pens.

2013 NW Straits Collage

This year, Washington State Senator Kevin Ranker and Dr. Terrie Klinger started off by giving an update to the state of the science and legislative activity around  Ocean Acidification.  Washington State is at the forefront of global science on this emerging issue, and the Governor has taken the step to create a commission to look into it and get some actions going on this.

Funding for research and data collection is underway, and we were told that funding for educational activities is not,and pressure needs to be exerted to get this to the schools as new curriculum.

Hugh Shipman of the Washington State Department of Ecology spoke on Sea Level Rise in the Puget Sound basin, and Tina Whitman of Friends of the San Juans along with Andrea MacLennon of the Coastal Geographic Services brought people up to speed on how the scientists and policy makers are measuring and planning for sea level rise in San Juan County.

Kathleen Herrmann of the Snohomish County MRC gave a very interesting talk on a new method for gaining public acceptance of MRC goals, using Collective Impact, which is a model framework applied here for marine conservation. Kathleen has done a great job of researching this and applying it to their issues.

Will Stelle, who is the west coast regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries, closed out day one, with a really entertaining overview of the issues facing the west coast. I would have to say that this overview should be mandatory for all of us trying to get a good overview of the state of affairs right now. It’s a huge span of work. Will presents it with humor and passion.

Conservation biologist Thor Hanson was the after dinner speaker, giving an overview on his new book, Feathers. Thor’s enthusiasm for his work is quite funny and, yes, I bought the book.

On day two: there was tracks on Tools for Promoting Ocean Acidification (O.A.) Literacy, and in another room, an overview of Nearshore Habitat Restoration: From Idea to Reality, Advice from Local Experts. In the O.A.literacy program, Alexis Valauri-Orton, the Thomas J. Watson Fellow presented a really interesting look at her recent research work in talking to various cultures around the world being affected by O.A. Paul Williams of the Suquamish Tribe updated us on their efforts to teach the issue, and Meg Chadsey of Washington Sea Grant also presented.

After lunch, in addition to an overview of evaluating metrics and outreach projects, Dan Tonnes and Helen Berry gave great insight into Rockfish recovery efforts and Kelp monitoring and management in Puget Sound.

Will Stelle – NOAA West Coast Fisheries Administrator on Fisheries and Furloughs – 45 minutes long. Download the audio file and listen.  http://sdrv.ms/17Z2Kzi

All these presentations will be put up in both audio and video formats for download within the next week.  Check back for the links to them. 

EVENT: Local Food Accessibility – Sequim Nov.12th 6-8PM

L-FAN Nourish flyer

With the Congress set to reduce food stamp funding on Friday November 1st, understanding how to get local food is even more important for many of those needing a decent meal. Often farms have gleanings available, or have slightly older food that they may be willing to donate if you live in the neighborhood.

(The Local Food Access Network (L-FAN) is sponsoring an event on November 12, 2013 at Nourish, our new organic Sequim restaurant. The topic is Bountiful Clallam and will featuring Clea Rome. Clea is the University of Washington Extension Agent in Clallam County that works with local farmers to help them increase sustainable production and markets. This should be an informative meeting and will be followed by a discussion of what we can do to support local food accessibility.

Nourish is open for dinner and it is Taco Night! Come early and bring your tacos upstairs to the Community Meeting Room. It is all organic and gluten free

What: “Bountiful Clallam” Local folks discuss local fare
When: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 Time: 6:00 – 8:00pm
Where: Nourish Restaurant 1345 S. Sequim Ave. (Old Cedarbrook Garden Café)
Featuring: Clea Rome
Sponsored by: Local Food Access Network

Contact for additional information or questions: Carrol Hull 360 683-5199
cahull@msn.com

EVENT: Free workshop for homeowners on bluffs!

Given the recent bluff collapse in Port Townsend, this might be of interest to some  of you!
Oct30 workshop press release final

Why to vote no on the Jefferson County Charter Proposal

Yesterday, I received the following email from a long time friend and environmental activist, Fayette Krause. I am enclosing it with my thoughts, many of which mirror Fayette’s. Fayette’s letter spurred me to finish writing down my thoughts on the proposed Charter County proposals, as the county Democrats are going to hold an endorsement meeting on Sept 17th. I believe the Charter proponents are well intentioned, but ultimately proposing a fundamental change to the County structure that will not benefit the County, and in fact, may bring more problems. Here’s why.

I plan to vote “No” on the Charter for the following reasons. These are somewhat different and re-prioritized from Fayette’s.

1. This does not fix the root causes. It goes after the symptoms.

1A. Is the root cause of putting forward a Charter County a disconnect between the majority of voters and the elected officials? Jefferson County already has the highest percentage voter turnout in the State. We have elected both conservatives and progressives over the last couple of decades. The problem does not seem to be voter apathy to issues, or some kind of disconnect between the electorate and the County officials. Our county allows citizens to vote out incumbents and choose a candidate that more closely allies with our ideas/ideals. For progressives, the current County Commission has generally been very responsive, and was elected as a reaction to a previous more conservative group of Commissioners who approved such ill-conceived developments as the Pit To Pier project, which was ultimately was brought down by economics, and changes at a State level. On another issue, our current Commissioners spent a large amount of time to research and discuss the Shoreline Master Program and Critical Areas Ordinance for example. I don’t think that any of the progressives now supporting the Charter would argue that our elected officials’ stance on those were wrong. They have supported protection of special places, such as Dabob Bay. They have fought net-pens in our county, offering options to their deployment that the State refused to accept. They have supported numerous other progressive measures.

If the root cause is a lack of enough commissioners to guarantee more representation, the Charter does not necessarily accomplish that. Adding more Commissioners does not mean that things will be more representative. San Juan County voted in a Charter County, with 6 commissioners and found that it was too expensive and didn’t guarantee any better representation of the citizens, so they returned to 3 after great expense to the county.

1B. Is the root cause a lack of a initiative process to stop state mandated issues like net-pens?

The charter and initiative process, on a county basis, will not likely stop net-pens. I have heard it stated by the Charter County advocates that we can create an initiative to ban net-pens. I don’t see any legal basis for a local initiative to succeed at that. The root cause for the requirement for net pens is at the State level, not county. State DOE holds the authority to allow net pens on aquatic lands, and allows the counties to help write the rules to those lands, both for getting local input and saving the state money. DOE and the State reserve the right to undo any proposals, like these that they see fit. The only way I see to implement a ban on net pens in the State waters, is to implement a state wide initiative, and I believe that the charter advocates that want a net pen ban should take that route, rather than overhaul our county rules to achieve a goal that likely will do nothing to solve the problem.

2. I have no guarantee that the Freeholders that get elected are going to craft a better governance document!
The freeholder election has numerous very conservative candidates running for Freeholder positions. Should a majority of these candidates win, there is no telling where they may take the Charter. The law of unintended consequences looks to be very likely to happen if we don’t elect the slate that we want.

3. This is going to cost the county more money, not less.
We currently can’t afford to take care of our county parks, yet well meaning people want the county to spend money on the Charter. Even with a minor amount of change we will pay to implement that change.
Initiative challenges will cost us more money. This is not a revenue neutral proposal. (see below).

4. The Initiative process does not guarantee beneficial results.

While originally well intentioned, Tim Eyman’s manipulation of the initiative process has shown us that just because you create and vote to approve one, it will not necessarily get you the outcomes you expect. Much of our State Ferry rate increases that we have lived under here in Jefferson County, and affect us the most, were begun in the wake of Eyman’s I-695 initiative and it’s outcome on State highway revenues. (while it was declared unconstitutional it’s goals were implemented by elected officials afraid of opposing Eyman).

There is a belief that County initiatives supersede State and Federal law. I have seen nothing that makes me believe that, and would like to see backers support that contention. I see an outcome where local initiatives are challenged by the very corporations that you want to keep out, and cost the county money to challenge in court.

Standard variety initiatives will be challenged by those who lose, which has been the case with Eyman’s initiatives at the State level. Out of Eyman’s 19 initiatives and one referendum 12 failed or were voted out and 5 have been ruled unconstitutional! Many have been ruled unconstitutional after costly legal challenges. The cost to the State in challenges has never had a dollar figure placed on it. We in this small county cannot afford to spend money on court challenges like this, when we can’t even fund our existing county needs.

5. This idea has not had an appropriate amount of time for debating the issue.

For all these reasons, I hope that friends who are members of the Jefferson County Democrats can attend and vote no in this upcoming meeting. The meeting takes place at 7PM on Sept 17th. I hope all of you will vote no on Charter County at the upcoming election.

Al B. – Editor

From: Fayette Krause
Date: Sat, Sep 7, 2013 at 5:38 PM
Subject: Where are you?
To: “Undisclosed-Recipient:;”@userservices.net

Regarding the proposed Charter? I am contacting some Demos that I know re the special endorsement mtg on Sept. 17 at the Community Ctr in P.T. I plan to vote “No” on the Charter for several reasons:

1. The Freeholder election has numerous very conservative candidates running for the Freeholder positions. Should a majority of these candidates win, there is no telling where they may take the Charter.

2. The Charter idea is rushed and will lack a reasonable time frame for debate. Further, it is complicated and difficult to distill to a few soundbites — something we should avoid anyway.

3. Our state has seen where the Initiative has taken us recently. Originally this idea was a highly progressive instrument, designed to circumvent corporate-controlled state legislatures. It can still be used this way by progressives, but the Tim Eyman’s of Washington have also learned how to use this legislation effectively, to the detriment of state government.

4. What’s broken here? If there is a problem with county governance, we can vote out the incumbents and choose a candidate that more closely allies with our ideas/ideals. For progressives, the current County Commission has generally been very responsive, opposing ill-conceived developments, supporting protection for special places like Dabob Bay, fighting net-pens in the Straits and Hood Canal, and generally supporting other progressive measures.

5. There is a dollar cost to the County, for running the election, and an unknown and unpredictable cost should our current system be changed by adopting a Charter. The price tag could be relatively low, but any change is likely to require some additional costs.

These are only a few of the reasons that I am uncomfortable with the Charter idea, despite the fact that a number of progressive and very well-meaning people support it. While commending them for their work in raising the issue, I cannot support the Charter idea.

The endorsement vote will be taken at the 7:00 mtg on Sept. 17. Only members of the JeffCo Demo Party can vote, and the requirement for either a negative or positive endorsement is 2/3 of the voters, plus one. Consequently, it is important to have a large and informed turn-out.

I hope you can attend.

Fayette

Canoe Journey 2013

Canoe Journey 2013

Photos by Al Bergstein

Arriving in the fog in Port Townsend. Sunday

EVENT: Wolf Haven Presentation–6/15- PA and PT

WOLF HAVEN INTERNATIONAL

Saturday June 15, 2013

On Saturday, June 15, the North Olympic Group of the Sierra Club will host two presentations about Wolf Haven International programs.    A Port Townsend presentation starts at 3 PM at the Community Center, 620 Tyler, in Uptown. The second presentation will be held in Port Angeles at 6:30 PM in the North Olympic Library’s Carver Meeting Room, located on Lauridsen Blvd between Peabody and Chase Streets.

Wolf Haven International, located near Olympia, provides sanctuary for displaced, captive-born wolves, and offers educational programs about wolves and the value of all wildlife.

Wolf Haven International Executive Director Diane Gallegos & Conservation Director Linda Saunders will discuss how this top predator benefits the natural ecosystem of our State, its programs promoting wolf restoration in historic ranges, and about its continuing effort to protect wolves in their native habitat.

Gallegos and Saunders will update the public on the recent return of wolves to Washington after being gone for almost 80 years; the WA State Wolf Conservation & Management Plan used for wolves in the wild; how peaceful co-existence can be achieved with wolves; and the 48 wolves currently living at the Wolf Haven sanctuary.

The public will also hear about other activities of the Sierra Club North Olympic Group — outings, programs, activism.

This is a family friendly event

Admission is free.  Donations are welcomed.

Port Townsend Contact: monicaflet@gmail.com

Port Angeles Contact: darlenes@olympus.net

EVENT: Sierra Club Hike–June 9

Join the Sierra Club on Sunday June 9 for a hike along Deer Ridge with its profusion of wildflowers and spectacular views of the entire Grey Wolf River valley and its towering peaks.  Begin this hike in an area proposed for wilderness protection under the Wild Olympics legislation recently introduced in Congress.  Hike Deer Ridge and get a sense of why the local Wild Olympics volunteers and supporters are working so hard to give this area and others the durable permanent protection they deserve!

Details:  This 8-10 mile hike involves an elevation gain of 2,800 feet so you need to be in good condition, have well broken in hiking shoes and, because it’s a ridge trail, take plenty of water.   Bring a bag lunch and dress in layers, anticipating the variety of weather that makes the Olympics so dynamic.

RSVP:  bill.volmut@gmail.com

“Heroines of our Green Olympics” Talk – Next Tuesday-PT-7PM

Connie Gallant next Tuesday at 7 PM will present “Heroines of our Green Olympics,” a talk about Rosalie Edge, Polly Dyer and Bonnie Phillips– women who have made great contributions to the conservation of the Olympic Peninsula– and also give an update on current Olympic Peninsula environmental issues.  She will talk at the Port Townsend Community Center; admission is free.

Whales of Northern Alaska: How are they Faring? 1/7 @ 7PM

The newly formed Natural History Society of the Jefferson Land Trust (JLTNHS) is sponsoring a talk and slide show by veteran wildlife biologist Dave Rugh, on the status of bowhead, gray, and beluga whales in northern Alaskan waters. The presentation will take plance on January 7, at 7:00 pm in the Cotton Building, 607 Water Street, Port Townsend.

clip_image002

Dave Rugh surveying Arctic whales.

Bowheads, gray whales, and belugas are considered to be the most common whales in marine waters surrounding northern Alaska, but just how many are there? Where do these whales feed and where do they migrate? How healthy are their populations, especially in the face of a changing Arctic?

Answering such questions about animals that live underwater in distant, icy seas has proven enormously challenging for scientists. Bowheads can live as long as 150-200 years and are wonderfully adapted for swimming in cold, ice-covered waters. Their huge reserves of fat and long baleen plates, prized by commercial whalers, nearly proved their undoing. Although indigenous people continue to hunt bowheads for subsistence, these whales are recovering from the huge losses of the past. Gray whales—once hunted almost to extinction—spend half the year making one of the lengthiest migrations for any mammal. Their coastal travels between summertime habitat in Alaska and wintering areas near Mexico’s Baja Peninsula (a round-trip distance of 10,000 miles or more) expose them to many threats. The graceful white belugas—nicknamed “sea canaries” for their high-pitched twitters—generally occur near sea ice, so what does a melting Arctic bode for them?

Dave Rugh, who served as researcher with NOAA’s National Marine Mammal Lab for 34 years, has contributed much to the current understanding of Alaska’s bowhead, gray, and beluga whales. In more than a hundred research projects conducted by land, sea, and air from the Arctic to California, Dave documented the distribution and abundances of these whales. Results from his surveys have been critical for assessing the health of their populations, particularly in regard to their status as threatened or endangered. Dave has published hundreds of scientific articles and documents, sharing his knowledge in many presentations to fellow scientists, students, and the general public. His work earned him more than 30 professional awards, including NOAA’s Distinguished Career Award.

This event is free and open to the public, but a $5 donation would be appreciated to help defray the costs.

Little Fish, Big Problems: Paying attention to “the most important fish in the sea”–At Feiro 11.30.2012

Feiro Marine Life Center and  Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Present:

Friday, November 30    6:30-8:30 pm 2nd floor Landing Mall

Conservation and human interest is often focused on large, visible animals such as whales, seals, and sea birds.  Yet, many of these species depend critically on the availability of small, schooling fish such as herrings, anchovies and sardines.  The protection of the “little fish” may hold the answer to reaching broad conservation goals.   Gain a greater understanding of the biology, ecology and threats to these fish, with a particular emphasis on species that reside on the Washington Coast.
Join us in welcoming Dr. Tim Essington, a marine ecologist with broad interests in marine ecology, food webs, and ecosystem-based fisheries management.  Dr. Essington, an Associate Professor and Associate Director of the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington, serves on the boards of the Ecosystem Science and Management working group of the NOAA Science Advisory Board, the NCEAS Science Advisory Board, and the Marine Stewardship Council’s Technical Advisory Board.  In 2011 he was selected to be a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation.

Please call Feiro at 417-6254 for more information.

Suggested Donation: $5.00

Climate Change Lecture–18 October–PT Marine Science Center

PTMSC flyer_Climate Change 2012

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