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

EVENT: Farm Bureau to present on Hirst Decision 4/12 @7PM Chimicum Grange

Al Latham just alerted me that a fellow from the Farm Bureau will be doing a presentation on the Hirst Decision (on building permits and water rights) and current legislative activity around exempt wells at the Chimacum Grange, 7pm Wed April 12.

What is the Hirst Decision? It’s an extremely important new ruling that addresses an ongoing battle over development vs. water rights. Let me copy from the Dept of Ecology web site:

“A recent Washington State Supreme Court decision has changed how counties decide to approve or deny building permits that use wells for a water source.

In the Whatcom County vs. Hirst, Futurewise, et al. decision (often referred to as the Hirst decision), the court ruled that the county failed to comply with the Growth Management Act (GMA) requirements to protect water resources. The ruling requires the county to make an independent decision about legal water availability.

Background

We protect rivers and streams across the state by creating instream flow rules, which set the amount of water necessary for protecting fish, wildlife and recreation. In 1985, we adopted an instream flow rule for the Nooksack River (WAC 173-501) in Whatcom County. This rule closed most streams in the watershed to new water right permits but allowed landowners to use permit-exempt wells in most of the area. Whatcom County’s development regulations followed our instream flow rule.

A reliable, year-round supply of water is necessary for new homes or developments. Before the Oct. 6, 2016, court decision, many counties relied on what the Department of Ecology said about whether year-round water was available. This court decision changes that – counties now have to make their own decisions about whether there is enough water, physically and legally, to approve a building permit that would rely on a well.

Impacts

The case directly relates to Whatcom County but appears to set legal precedent that applies in other counties where there are instream flow rules that were not intended to regulate permit-exempt water uses. It is unclear how the decision affects areas of the state where there are no instream flow rules. Counties are working to review the decision and what it means for them. Contact your county’s building, planning or health departments if you have questions about how the Hirst decision may affect you.

Key points

  • Science has shown that rivers and streams are generally connected to groundwater. The Washington State Supreme Court said that water is not legally available if a new well would impact a protected river or stream, or an existing senior water right.
  • If your county determines that water is not legally available for your new use, the county would not be able to approve your building permit – even if you have already drilled a well.
  • We are providing technical assistance to counties as they determine their next steps. Our priority will be to provide information about the status of stream closures and instream flows.
  • Anyone with questions about how the decision affects them should contact their county government.

 

Nitrates, fecal coliform from dairies linked to tainted shellfish, tap water -KOMO News

As the work continues to craft a Critical Areas Ordinance in our county, one of the key new issues is including Agriculture in it. (they were exempted in previous versions due to political pressure as mentioned in this report). This quick report highlights the concerns of those in the environmental community for crafting buffers from streams that work. Our county has been a leader in cooperative work between the farmers and those trying to restore streams such as Chimicum Creek. Hopefully we can leverage that work into something even more productive, without being heavy handed. But we also can’t just “give away the farm” so to speak. Here’s why:

Shellfish, swimming beaches, and the tap water for thousands of people in certain areas of Washington state are being contaminated by pollutants running off farms, and critics say dairy cows are the chief culprit, according to a KOMO 4 Problem Solvers investigation. Government regulators are failing to halt that pollution largely because of insufficient laws, pressure from the agriculture industry and too little enforcement, the Problem Solvers review found. Voluntary compliance and good intentions from many dairy farmers have not been enough to prevent dangerous contaminates generated by manure from getting into waters of Washington state. Only one percent of Washington’s roughly 700 dairy farms – some with thousands of cows at one facility – have a permit to pollute, say state agencies. Jeff Burnside reports. (KOMO)

http://www.komonews.com/news/problemsolvers/Nitrates-fecal-coliform-from-dairies-linked-to-tainted-shellfish-tap-water-283557361.html

Obama Administration Finalizes Stronger Stream Buffers to Protect Imperiled Salmon from Pesticides

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/08/13/18759976.php

The Environmental Protection Agency today finalized an agreement to restore no-spray buffer zones around waterways to protect imperiled salmon and steelhead from five toxic pesticides.

A coalition of conservation organizations, advocates for alternatives to pesticides, and fishing groups cheered the victory. These groups brought a lawsuit to demand reasonable fish protections from the insecticides, some of which are derived from nerve toxins developed during World War II….

The buffers apply to salmon habitat throughout California, Oregon, and Washington to prohibit aerial spraying of broad-spectrum pesticides diazinon, chlorpyrifos, malathion, carbaryl, and methomyl within 300 feet of salmon habitat and prohibit ground-based applications within 60 feet.

 

The agreement provides detailed notice to state regulators, pesticide applicators, farmers, and the public about the required no-spray buffer zones. These buffers will remain in place until the National Marine Fisheries Service completes analyses of the impacts of these five pesticides on the fish. Then, the EPA must implement permanent protections grounded in the Fisheries Service’s findings. (Indymedia)

WSU Master Goat Farmer Program offered in Jefferson County in January

WSU Jefferson County Extension offers the Master Goat Farmer Program on Marrowstone  Island from January 17-19th , 2014. The 3-day advanced course, offered by WSU since 1988,provides goat farmers/owners in-depth training of goat production topics including nutrition, pasture management, health and disease, lactation, mastitis, reproduction, housing, breed  selection, and food safety.

Course presenters include Susan Kerr, WSU Northwest Regional Livestock and Dairy Extension Specialist; Gary Fredericks, WSU Cowlitz Extension County Director, and Lorrie Conway. Course participants will experience hands-on and classroom presentations, along with a field trip to neighboring goat dairy, Mystery Bay Farm. Participants will also receive a CD of educational publications related to goat care and management.

The Master Goat Farmer Program will be held at WSU Twin Vista Ranch on Marrowstone Island on Friday, Saturday and Sunday January 17th , 18th and 19th

Class size is limited. Cost is $60 per person, plus $30 for additional family members. To register, visit jefferson.wsu.edu.

For more information: Susan Kerr at kerrs@wsu.edu or 360-848-6151 or Kellie Henwood at (360) 379-5610 ext. 201.

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