Save the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge Update

Janet Marx, who is a member of Protect the Peninsula’s Future, working to save the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge, passed this along.


With the Army Corp of Engineers (ACE) approving a permit despite their Decision Document stating concerns about more than minimal damage to the Refuge, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) quickly signed a lease with Ron Allen of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe (JST) in January without public input. 

In December we sent DNR the ACE document that listed several ways the oyster operation would destabilize the refuge and harm the wildlife.  We then requested a meeting with Hilary Franz, Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands (DNR) to discuss ACE findings and why the lease should be rescinded based at least on the ACE concerns.  We received no response.  Follow up requests for a meeting were ignored by Hilary. We finally had two meetings with Alex Smith, Deputy Supervisor – Forest Resilience, Regulation and Aquatics, and other staff.  The outcome was a refusal by DNR to rescind the lease, knowing the bottom lands they are charged to protect will be damaged.

They remarked that DNR can enforce permits but cannot deny them.  Hence, violate first.

Remember back to the Clallam County Hearing Examiner’s (HE) mitigated approval in which he required the applicant have the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) or the local Audubon chapter oversee the project and train the applicant’s staff to identify and monitor Refuge birds.  If both declined, then the County would select an independent corporation to review a modified Jamestown Avian Monitoring Plan (AMP) as the original Plan was inadequate.  Both declined.  So the County hired an independent corporation, West Inc.  West reviewed the AMP and made light-weight suggestions instead of requirements.  West accepted weak statements rather than requiring detailed procedures and oversight.  The report primarily focused on seasonal bird counts but did not have a procedure for monitoring habitat changes that will affect the birds.

We have grown our coalition of Washington State environmental organizations who are also appalled with a commercial operation inside a national refuge.  Recently, nearly a dozen organizations sent a joint letter to DNR Commissioner Hilary Franz expressing their concerns that she approved the oyster shellfish operation knowing full well that this operation will damage the Refuge.  (See letter attachment above.) 

We are working with our partner organizations to find a way to save the Dungeness Refuge.  If you have not written to Commissioner Franz please do so. This is a good time for individual letters to join forces with the joint letter.

                                                Hilary Franz, Commissioner

                                                Office of the Commissioner of Public Lands

                                                MS47001

                                                Olympia, WA  98504

                                                cpl@dnr.wa.gov

Hugh Morrison is the recently appointed interim USFWS Regional Director in the Portland OR office.  Please write him.  It was that office that pulled its earlier comments opposing the oyster project.  We need to keep the pressure on the service to re-engage and oppose.  They too were sent the ACE document spelling out the destruction to the Refuge.

                                                Hugh Morrison, Interim Regional Director

                                                Regional Director’s Office-R1

                                                911 NE 11th Avenue

                                                Portland, OR  97282-4181

                                                Hugh_Morrison@fws.gov

This will take a village to save the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, but save it we will!

Protect the Peninsula’s Future — PO Box 421 — Sequim, WA 98382

http://www.protectpeninsulasfuture.org/dungeness-refuge-alert/

Olympic Coast Ocean Acidification Sentinel Site Symposium on May 10-11

NOAA’s Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary is hosting the Olympic Coast Ocean Acidification Sentinel Site (OASeS) Symposium to share information, generate solutions, and address work plan actions related to policy, management, science, education, and outreach needs of the region regarding changing ocean conditions. 

DATE: May 10-11, 2022 
TIME: May 10: 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. PDTMay 11: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. PDT
LOCATION:   Virtual attendance through a live stream Join meeting from your computer, tablet, or smartphone:https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/934726957 or:+1 (872) 240-3412 Access Code: 934-726-957

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries formally designated Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary as an Ocean Acidification Sentinel Site in November of 2019. The four Coastal Treaty Tribes who are sustained by these waters – the Hoh, Makah, Quileute, and the Quinault Indian Nation – together with the state of Washington, support this designation for the Washington coast. A roundtable-style steering committee guides Sentinel Site activities and ensures broad representation of coastal resource manager and stakeholder interests.

The Sentinel Site informs resource managers and coastal communities about the impacts of ocean acidification on their marine resources, cultures, communities, and economies to ensure they are prepared for a changing ocean. Climate change effects are the biggest threats to the condition of the sanctuary, as identified in the recently completed condition report

For more information or to obtain a copy of the agenda, contact Katie Wrubel 360-406-2081, mailto:Katie.Wrubel@noaa.gov .

On the Web:

NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov

NOAA’s Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary: http://olympiccoast@noaa.gov

Jacqueline Laverdure  (she / her / hers)

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

Education and Outreach Coordinator

Choosing Winners and Losers in Alaska’s Crab Fishery -Hakai Magazine

Great article on the Alaska crab season.

A quota system implemented in 2005 has meant economic and social trade-offs.

https://hakaimagazine.com/news/choosing-winners-and-losers-in-alaskas-crab-fishery/

Anderson Lake Closed due to Toxic Algae

Please don’t let you or your dogs swim or get near it. It could kill them.

Wildlife officials warn of invasive frogs in Washington – AP

Now this….seems like we never learn.


An invasive species is consuming and competing with native species in western Washington, including salmon. Scientists have spotted African clawed frogs in Issaquah, Lacey and Bothell, KING5 reported. The frogs were initially brought into the United States to be used in pregnancy tests and later became pets, said state wildlife scientist Max Lambert. (Associated Press)

https://apnews.com/article/united-states-environment-fish-washington-wildlife-6c84623b376b1a13124a724945cfdd51

Scientists race to rescue world’s fastest sea star from oblivion -KUOW


Update on the Starfish wasting disease.

Scientists are racing to revive a critically endangered species that has succumbed to a mysterious underwater pandemic up and down the West Coast. The species is the sunflower star, a pizza-sized predator that can have two dozen arms. Since 2013, a wasting disease of unknown origin has turned some 5 billion sunflower stars, or 90% of the global population, into goo. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

https://kuow.org/stories/scientists-race-to-rescue-world-s-fastest-sea-star-from-oblivion

The retreating glaciers of Puget Sound -Ecopugetsond.org

Bad news on the glacial front. “When the snow leaves the mountains the world ends”-Native legend. Likely true for civiluzation on the peninsula. Our society here depends on it glacial runoff.

Puget Sound’s glaciers are melting rapidly due to climate change. The North Cascades mountains have lost about 56% of their glacial ice while estimates show that glaciers in the Olympics could be gone within the next 50 years. Scientists say salmon and other species could be hard hit as the region loses its “giant storage tank” of ice.

https://www.eopugetsound.org/

EPA grants Jamestown water testing oversight on reservation, trust lands -PDN

Good news that the tribe is continuing to be a focal point for environmental monitoring on the peninsula.

BLYN — The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe has received approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to administer the Clean Water Act’s water quality standards and certification programs on its reservation and trust lands.

Read the rest of the story at the link below. The PDN does have a firewall for subscribers but if you haven’t used any of the three they allow you before they closed the door might be able to read this.

https://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/epa-grants-jamestown-water-testing-oversight-on-reservation-trust-lands/

Volunteers Needed for Seabird Monitoring Program (June – August)

Looking for some fun volunteer opportunities this summer?

Do you enjoy watching wildlife and early morning solitude? If so please consider being a one day per week volunteer monitoring breeding and feeding behavior of Pigeon Guillemots along beach segments in Clallam County (this is part of a regional Salish Sea citizen science program[http://www.pigeonguillemot.org]).

Training (or refresher training) will be provided before surveys begin in early June. Volunteers commit to one morning hour each week for 10 weeks (through August). The Clallam Marine Resources Committee and Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society hope that sufficient numbers of returning and/or new volunteers will allow for substitutes for those taking summer vacations.

If interested, please contact Ed Bowlby (edbowlby2@gmail.com). Thanks for considering being a volunteer and please alert others who might be interested.

April storm improves 2022 PNW water outlook, drought remains. – AP

Good news but not enough to bail us out of drought conditions.



Climatologists say rare April snow along with rain sweeping across the Pacific Northwest this week could increase water supplies, slow snow melt and lengthen the irrigation season. Washington state climatologist Nick Bond said irrigators will benefit from April storms, but it won’t be enough to end the eastern Washington drought. (Associated Press)

https://www.knkx.org/environment/2022-04-13/april-storm-improves-2022-pnw-water-outlook-drought-remains

An ocean of noise: how sonic pollution is hurting marine life – The Guardian

The ongoing uncovering of the damage to nature by our continued pollution of the ocean by man-made noise.



Today’s oceans are a tumult of engine roar, artificial sonar and seismic blasts that make it impossible for marine creatures to hunt or communicate. We could make it stop, so why don’t we? David George Haskell reports. (The Guardian)

An ocean of noise: how sonic pollution is hurting marine life

Seattle developer pushes for WA’s first floating offshore wind farm off Olympic Peninsula – Seattle Times

Will be interesting to see how this project develops and who would possibly oppose it during a time of rising heating costs and concerns of global warming. The position of this blog is that we need to be supporting all possible ways of getting us off fossil fuels. The devil though, is always in the details.


Trident Winds, a wind energy developer based in Seattle, submitted an unsolicited lease request Monday to the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management to build a floating offshore wind farm — the state’s first — about 43 miles off the coast of the Olympic Peninsula, near Grays Harbor.

Seattle Times

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/seattle-developer-pushes-for-was-first-floating-offshore-wind-farm-off-olympic-peninsula/

Superior Court rules against military use of state parks

Judge James Dixon of the Thurston Co. Superior Court ruled that WA State Parks Commissioners were arbitrary and capricious when they allowed the military to use our state parks for military training.  He agreed with Zak Griefen (Bircklin and Neumann) that there was no better word than “creepy” that citizens would feel in parks with military around.  He cited the RCWs under which Parks is allowed to operate and that Parks decision was clearly erroneous and violated its purpose in this case; they violated provisions set forth in the SEPA Act.

The citizens are entitled to attorney fees.


Background on this, years ago, when the military first proposed this, it was argued to the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee (of which I was the chair) and which included one of the “good old boys” from the Port, that this was outrageous and should be challenged by us and denied by the Port. The Port Commissioner just laughed and said that he could see “nothing wrong” with the idea. No one else in the MRC thought it was worth challenging though it was our charter to protect the waters of the county. It’s nice to see that the legal system stood up for our rights when finally taken to court. As has been said many times here, it appears the only way to really protect the environment is to take the offenders to court. There seems to be no appetite by most of the “environmental” community on the Olympic Peninsula to take public sides against these outrageous acts. The days of environmental groups fighting for our environment seem long gone, except for a few exceptions. You can help by funding the ones that still fight in court. That will do far more than anything else you can do.

The far-reaching consequences of woodsmoke pollution – HCN

Most of us like the smell of wood smoke. However, the health effects have long been known to be hazardous to our health. Here’s a new update on the issue from the High Country News. They reprinted it from Undark.

…within months of moving in, she noticed grey smoke billowing from the chimney of the house next door. Next, she says, came the sore throats, headaches, and tight lungs.

https://www.hcn.org/articles/climate-desk-pollution-the-far-reaching-consequences-of-woodsmoke-pollution?utm_source=wcn1&utm_medium=email

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Condition of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary good; climate change a growing concern

This just released from NOAA.


Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary habitats are in overall good condition, with stable or improving trends, but climate change impacts are a growing concern for sanctuary managers, according to a new NOAA report on the health of the sanctuary.

The sanctuary’s “Condition Report” includes information on the status and trends of resources in the sanctuary, pressures on those resources, and management responses to the pressures that threaten the integrity of the marine environment. 

The report, based on information from 2008-2019, concludes that overall, most habitats within the sanctuary are in good condition and show signs of stable or improving trends over time. However, there are concerns about the effects of climate change—especially for open ocean habitats.

Climate change effects—marine heatwaves, harmful algal blooms, hypoxic events, and ocean acidification—are the biggest threats to the condition of the sanctuary. Although wildlife populations of the sanctuary are fairly stable or increasing overall, certain keystone and foundational species populations—the purple sea star and sunflower star, Southern Resident Killer Whales, and some salmon species—are displaying cause for concern. 

The report uses a standardized method to summarize the condition and trends of the sanctuary’s resources, habitats, and ecosystem services, as well as pressures on those resources and management responses to the pressures.

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary was established in 1994 and includes 3,188 square miles of marine waters off the rugged Olympic Peninsula in northwest Washington state. Habitats within the sanctuary range from towering kelp forests to deep-sea coral and sponge communities, and there are over 200 reported shipwrecks. Twenty-nine species of marine mammals and more than 100 bird species reside in or migrate through the sanctuary, and it contains some of the most productive habitats for fish in the world.

In order to represent both traditional and modern-day perspectives of the relationship between humans and the ocean, this report includes the voices and knowledge of Indigenous people. Tribal Councils, tribal members, and participating staff from the four Coastal Treaty Tribes contributed to the report.

NOAA uses sanctuary condition reports as a standardized tool to assess the status and trends of national marine sanctuary resources. The assessment period for this report was 2008 through 2019, updating the previous 2008 report. It will inform the management plan review process for Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. 

A web story with details has been published by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

#  #  #

Science center to open shop in PT

While this story is behind a paywall, worth noting that the Port Townsend Marine Science Center is finally opening their downtown location. Go check it out!

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center will open its doors to the public Friday to show off the completion of the first phase of the nonprofit organization’s move from Fort Worden State Park to downtown. About 50 people attended a crisp outdoor ceremony Wednesday that highlighted the center’s 40-year anniversary and its pledge for conservation and marine stewardship. Brian McLean reports.

(Peninsula Daily News)

Kevin Grant named superintendent of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

Kevin Grant, superintendent of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary/ photo: NOAA

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries announced the appointment of Kevin Grant of Port Angeles, Washington, as superintendent of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS). Kevin has been with NOAA for nearly 14 years as a deputy superintendent, with more than nine years at OCNMS and four years at National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa.

Kevin has a Masters Degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington, and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Wisconsin. He was a Knauss Sea Grant Fellow at the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, and served two years in the Peace Corps in the Solomon Islands. Nearly all of his experience since leaving graduate school has involved collaboration in resource management with indigenous communities.

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, with offices in Port Angeles, Washington, is managed by NOAA and was designated in 1994. It encompasses nearly 3,200 square miles off the Washington coast, extending from Cape Flattery to the mouth of the Copalis River. Significant natural and cultural resources include 29 species of marine mammals, as well as large populations of nesting seabirds, shipwrecks, and some of the last remaining wilderness coastline in the lower 48 states.

The sanctuary is part of America’s National Marine Sanctuary System, a network of underwater areas encompassing more than 620,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters. The network includes a system of 15 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments. The National Marine Sanctuary System is celebrating its 50 year anniversary in 2022.

Can’t we just eat those invasive crabs until they’re gone? (Probably not) – KUOW

A good question…


European green crabs have been clawing and eating their way through marshes and bays in Washington state. Like the native crabs they often prey on, these destructive invaders are themselves edible. Why don’t we fight them by just eating them into oblivion, KUOW readers and others have asked. Penn Cove Shellfish general manager Ian Jefferds suggested the state follow up Gov. Jay Inslee’s declaration of a green crab emergency in January by opening up an emergency harvest of the unwanted invertebrates. John Ryan report. (KUOW)

Can’t we just eat those invasive crabs until they’re gone? (Probably not)

Mysterious bubbles in Puget Sound – Seattle Times

Another of the mysteries of science showing up in the waters off our peninsula.


Data collected since 2011 shows 349 methane plumes in Puget Sound and Hood Canal. Researchers are exploring a potential correlation between the distribution of plumes and fault lines. Nicholas Turner reports. (Seattle Times)

Mysterious bubbles in Puget Sound: UW researchers track hundreds of seeping gas plumes

EVENT: Hear About Threats to Our Coastal Resources and What to Do About It – Sierra Club

Worth watching.

Dr. Anne Shaffer of the Coastal Watershed Institute

February 17, 7:00PM, via Zoom

RSVPs Required

For three decades, The Coastal Watershed Institute has lead the way in nearshore ecosystem conservation and restoration through place-based science.

Dr. Anne Shaffer, CWI’s  Executive Director, and a small group of colleagues first formed CWI in 1996. Thru her leadership CWI conducts world class coastal ecosystem science, conservation, and restoration with very modest resources.  

A nearshore marine scientist and manager for her entire career, Dr. Shaffer has authored over forty scientific papers.  She and CWI have received numerous awards over the years including the NOAA/AFS Nancy Foster Award, the American Fisheries Science Conservation Organization of the Year Award, and the Seattle Aquarium Conservation Research Science Award.

A resident of the Olympic Peninsula for over 30 years, Anne and her husband continue their dedication to  understanding, conserving, restoring, and promoting the physical and ecological processes of our vanishing  wild  Pacific Northwest coastlines.RSVP Here:  https://act.sierraclub.org/events/details?formcampaignid=7013q000002GME1AAO

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