The Kings Return to the Upper Elwha

It’s an unbelievable sight. There are so few successes of this magnitude. After over 100 years, the Kings are back.  They beat themselves on the dam for decades. Now it’s gone. The Elwha continues to be the environmental restoration story of the last 50 years. I only wish  that Dick Goin was here to see this day. It was part of his vision that brought this about, along with the vision of a small number of other people. It happened due to the work of those people’s visions and many hands, along with  the raw power of nature to heal. Thanks to John Gussman for a superb short film. Thanks to the Lower Elwha Tribe for persevering.  In a week that saw the death of Twyla Roscovitch, the pre-eminent young environmental filmmaker working on salmon restoration issues, leaving behind a grieving partner and young daughter, we see a renewal that the fish themselves give to us all. Not a miracle. The result of immense hard work and the power of nature.

Three Chinook Spotted Above Glines Canyon; First Salmon Return to the Upper Elwha in 102 Years

Amazing! It’s working!

News Release Date: September 12, 2014

Following an observation by a fisheries biologist and member of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe of a possible Chinook salmon in the former Lake Mills, two Olympic National Park fisheries staff conducted a snorkel survey of the Elwha River above the old Glines Canyon dam site.

https://www.nps.gov/olym/learn/news/three-chinook-spotted-above-glines-canyon.htm

Fish recolonizing areas upriver of former dam sites on Elwha River – PDN

More good news from the Elwha.

Josh Geffre has watched with awe as salmon return to the uppermost reaches of the Elwha River. Geffre, a fisheries technician for Olympic National Park, started monitoring the fish for the park in 2014 and has marveled as he’s seen most species swim upstream of the former Glines Canyon Dam. “It’s very satisfying to know the fish are recolonizing into areas upriver of the former dam sites,” he said during a recent trip to collect data on the fish. “It’s exciting to watch them.” Jesse Major reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/fish-recolonizing-areas-upriver-of-former-dam-sites-on-elwha-river/

See also: Elwha fish by the numbers http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/elwha-fish-by-the-numbers/ (Peninsula Daily News)

 

Net Pen Application & Public Hearing scheduled for Clallam County

So here we go folks. Your waters, your voice. We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to save and restore wild salmon, now we are expected to trade off the known downsides of net pens for our wild salmon. Net pens are disease vectors, they pollute the waters with feces of millions of fish, and the anti-biotics and other drugs that are needed to protect the herded fish from disease. They are a breeding ground for sea lice which then attach themselves to migrating fish from the entire Sound that will passing by the pens. This is an incredibly bad idea that will only profit a small shareholder class and the tiny number of workers employed by them. Is this really what we want? This is your chance to speak out. It’s not happening, “somewhere else.”  This is here in our waters right offshore.

From Peninsula Daily News Classified

Description
NOTICE OF APPLICATION AND PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, pursuant to Section 26.10.410 & 430 CCC, that the Clallam County Department of Community Development has scheduled a public hearing before the Clallam County Hearings Examiner for September 7, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. in Room 160 of the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 East Fourth Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362. The purpose of the hearing is to review public testimony regarding the Shoreline Substantial Permit for the Cooke Aquaculture Pacific LLC (CAP) proposal to move their existing Atlantic salmon net pen operation from within Port Angeles Harbor (Ediz Hook) to an open water area in the Strait of Juan de Fuca that is located over 1.5 miles offshore and 3.8 miles east of terminus of Ediz Hook: Proposal: (SHR 2016-00002) The proposal would be comprised of fourteen (14) floating high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic pipe circular net pens, which are designed for open water conditions. Each net pen will be 126 feet in diameter, 45 feet deep, and in approximately 100 foot deep water. The proposal also includes a 40 foot wide by 100 foot long feed barge. The height of the feed barge will be approximately 19 feet above the water level when empty and 14 feet when is fully loaded with about 350 tons of fish feed. The pens would be comprised of two rows of 7 pens each with a feed barge at the eastern end of the array. Each of the net pens and the feed barge would be located 72 feet apart from each other, and would be held in place by up to sixty 4,000 to 8,000 mooring anchor, anchor lines, chains, and hardware. This proposal would encompass 9.7 acres of water surface area and require a 52 acre Aquatic lease from the WA State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Location of the Proposal: The CAP new aquaculture net pen facility is proposed to be located approximately 3.8 miles east of Ediz Hook, 1.8 miles north of Morse Creek, and approximately 1.5 miles north of Green Point, within Section 10, Township 30 North, Range 5 West, W.M. Information & Studies Submitted: A Joint Aquatic Resource Application (JARPA) with attachments, SEPA Environmental Checklist with attachments, Biological Evaluation, Current and Wave Report prepared by RPS Evans-Hamilton, Sediment Report prepared by RPS Evans-Hamilton, Mooring Analysis Report – Grid System prepared by Aqua Knowledge, and Visual Analysis Report (January 2016) were submitted with the application. Permits Required & Studies Submitted: Section 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Waste Discharge Permit and Coastal Zone Management Compliance Determination through the Washington Department of Ecology; Fin Fish Aquaculture Permit, Fin Fish Transport Permit, and Aquatic Farm Registration through Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; Aquatic Use Authorization through DNR; Private Aids to Navigation with the United States Coast Guard; and Section 10 Permit Authorization with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which will include ESA Section 7 Consultation with National Marine Fisheries Services and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA): Clallam County is lead agency and a SEPA environmental checklist (ECL 2016-03) has been submitted for the proposal. After review of the completed environmental checklist, the SEPA Memo dated July 5, 2017, and other information on file with the agency, the Clallam County Responsible Official has determined that a Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance (MDNS) should be issued for this proposal. The MDNS for this proposal was issued July 6, 2017, and the comment period for this threshold determination ends on July 24, 2017. Unless the Responsible Official withdraws the threshold determination pursuant to WAC 197-11-340(3)(a), the threshold determination shall be final at the end of the comment period. The Hearing Examiner will consider the adequacy of the Threshold Determination at the open record public hearing. Public hearing and comment deadlines: Any interested person may submit written or oral comments on the proposal and the threshold determination of a MDNS prior to the close of the open record hearing. The staff report will be available seven days before the hearing. Any person may also submit a written request to DCD to receive a notice of the decision once it is made. The application and above referenced material is available at DCD On-Line Permit System web site or at our offices at 223 E. 4th St., Suite 5, Port Angeles, WA 98362, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Please contact Greg Ballard, Project Planner at (360) 565-2616, or by email at gballard@co.clallam.wa.us if you have any questions. Pub: July 9, 16, 2017 Legal No.766276

 

 

 

At Elwha River, forests, fish and flowers where there were dams and lakes – Seattle Times

With easy road access to trails open for the first time in years, and the river valley in full summer splendor, the Elwha beckons as never before. Where once there was a dam, today tourists are enjoying the newest interpretive attraction at Olympic National Park, about the world’s biggest-ever dam-removal experiment. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/at-elwha-river-forests-fish-and-flowers-where-there-were-dams-and-lakes/

EVENT:The Man Who Built the Sierra Club: A Life of David Brower

Sierra Club Robert Wyss June 2017

Invasive Green Crabs found in Dungeness Refuge

This just in. The finding of these crabs in Dungeness  changes everything. This is a very real threat to our marine life as well as our sewer system outfalls, among other things. Those of us in the Marine Resources Committees and the county people, have known that green crabs were found randomly in isolated numbers west along the Canadian coast, and there have been limited findings of them at a few places around the north Sound. With this discovery though it means there is no turning back and stopping them is going to be very problematic, if it’s even possible. One crab can eat up to 45 clams a day and they reproduce worse than bunny rabbits or rats.

According to the USDA:

Impact: Preys on bivalves and other crustaceans, such as soft-shell clams and scallops (Grosholz and Ruiz 2002)

Heads up that 12 European green crab have been caught so far since last week at the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. We have been working with USFWS and WA Sea Grant to support a limited rapid response and planning on setting up a stakeholder meeting in the next couple weeks to discuss implications and options. We’ve been in contact with Kelly Toy of Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe.

Allen Pleus
WDFW AIS and BW Unit Lead
(360) 902-2724 office
Allen.Pleus@dfw.wa.gov<mailto:Allen.Pleus@dfw.wa.gov>

Here is a fun short video about them.

EVENT: Day of Science in Port Angeles – APRIL 22nd.

Science Celebration Flyer final

P/T JOB OPENING: Program Assistant Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee

A part time position available for someone with program coordination.

mrc-program-assistant-descript_1-26-2017_page_1mrc-program-assistant-descript_1-26-2017_page_2

Meat and potatoes of the marine food system’ returns – Kitsap Sun

More very good news from the Elwha.

Smelt, a tiny fish with big importance, is the latest species to show rapid recovery after the fall of the Elwha River dams. The marine waters near the Elwha’s mouth have experienced a 20-fold increase in surf smelt abundance since the dams were removed two years ago, according to a study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Surf smelt are a schooling fish that grow a bit bigger than sardines. They and other forage fish, such as herring and sand lance, are key food sources for seabirds, marine mammals and salmon. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

http://www.kitsapsun.com/story/news/local/communities/2016/11/10/meat-and-potatoes-of-the-marine-food-system-returns-to-elwha/94375420/

Port Angeles, Combined Sewer Overflow system builder in $1 million dispute – PDN

It seems that Port Angeles can’t do any kind of city project without cost overruns or scandals. It makes one wonder is overseeing their project management and bid process. It’s worth noting that a leading environmental activist over there, Darlene Schanfeld,argued against spending the money on this project in the first place, as it’s being built on a piece of property that is very likely to be inundated in any kind of major earthquake. The taxpayers of PA can only hope that comes later than sooner.

A $1 million dispute centered on building delays and construction costs has bubbled up between city officials and the builder of key components of the city’s new $47 million Combined Sewer Overflow system, the priciest public works project in the city’s history. An auditing firm will review Bellingham-based TEK Construction Inc. records today for the city, Public Works and Utilities Director Craig Fulton told City Council members at their regular meeting Tuesday. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/port-angeles-combined-sewer-overflow-system-builder-in-1-million-dispute/

Elwha Roaring Back to Life – Seattle Times

Great aerial photography of the new Elwha river and a wonderful story with illustrations. While the jury is still out on the long term viability of the returning salmon runs, it does appear, at this early point, that the project is a success. But we won’t know for sure for probably at least 30 years. In the meantime, enjoy the view, and give thanks to the Lower Elwha Tribe, and the individuals and politicians of both parties here on the Peninsula that supported this effort, funded it, and are helping to restore it. The whole world is really watching this one.

 

ELWHA RIVER — The Elwha watershed is booming with new life, after the world’s largest dam removal.

The first concrete went flying in September 2011, and Elwha Dam was out the following March. Glines Canyon Dam upriver tumbled for good in September 2014. Today the river roars through the tight rock canyon once plugged by Elwha Dam, and surges past the bald, rocky hill where the powerhouse stood. The hum of the generators is replaced by the river singing in full voice, shrugging off a century of confinement like it never happened. Nature’s resurgence is visible everywhere.

http://projects.seattletimes.com/2016/elwha/

Houses recently threatened by roaring Dungeness River headed for purchase, demolition – PDN

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe continues it’s work to protect both the Dungeness floodplain and the people that live there. This buyout and moving of the houses, is going to give the river back another part of it’s “lungs”, as the floodplains have been described to me.  The river breathes by expanding into the floodplain in the winter and spring and receding in the summer. This natural cycle feeds the habitat of many species that have evolved over ten thousand of years. When we cut off the floodplains, in a very naive approach to both water use and home development, we were trying to change the ecosystem, but nature has a way of saying that it won’t work. Here’s one story of bringing it back. Thanks to the Jamestown S’Klallam for their continued leadership.

Several homes threatened by the rain swollen Dungeness River last week are slated for purchase and demolition by the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe, which hopes to restore the floodplain for salmon habitat as part of its ongoing Dungeness Floodplain Restoration Project. The Jamestown S’Klallam tribe is in final negotiations to purchase several lots of riverfront property from the Robinson family of Seattle, which owns the land. Chris McDaniel reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20151215/NEWS/312159990/houses-recently-threatened-by-roaring-dungeness-river-headed-for

Return of the River – A homerun of a movie for Gussman and Plumb

Just got out of the world premiere of  ‘Return of the River”, the film that likely will be considered the definitive work on the Elwha Dam removal.  This film, years in the making, was a labor of love for the two Peninsula based filmmakers, John Gussman and Jessica Plumb. And it was great to see it premiered here at the Port Townsend Film Festival.

The film tracks in detail the history of the dam, but more importantly the place that is the Elwha River, the feel for the Olympic Peninsula then and now, and a great depth of interviews with people that were instrumental, on both sides of the controversial project.  It is impossible not to come away impressed with the idea that hard things to do take a long time, and a lot of consensus building. From the interviews with leading politicians, mill managers, environmentalists, writers, biologists, and most importantly, the tribal members of the Lower Elwha Tribe, who never gave up hope to bring back the historic runs. There were so many people who played significant small roles in this drama. Gussman and Plumb treated all with the respect they deserve. There are no demeaning ‘heroes and villains’ caricatures.

It is almost trite to say that certain stories are ‘epic’ and ‘pivotal’ but the removal of the Elwha Dam has been just that. It has galvanized world attention more than almost any other single environmental event of the last ten years, because it is a message of hope. Hope that we can restore what we have destroyed. Gussman and Plumb have captured that story, distilled it to 70 minutes, and given fair treatment to all sides, and points of view. More than ever, we need stories of hope in the face of ever mounting environmental problems to solve.

In the last week, I’ve posted the story that bull trout have been seen in the upper Elwha for the first time in a century. Also that the shores of the Elwha estuary are turning back into a clam bed capable  sand spit. The power of restoration is an amazing thing to watch.  The restoration of this river, with it’s unique short run from sea to protected park, is possible, and is happening, right now, in front of our eyes for just taking the time to go look.

Gussman and Plumb, along with the rest of their crew, have given us the story, in all it’s facets. A well crafted storyline, beautiful filmmaking, solid editing, a wonderful original soundtrack, animation when needed of the hard concepts.

Congratulations for a remarkable piece of work. A 5 star must see film.

‘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

Controversial Olympic Peninsula Timber Sale Pits Environment Against Education – Earthfix

The battle to protect remaining stands of timber, that are home to the endangered marbled murrelet, continues. The State has decided to log off the stand, which are home to some pairs. A lawsuit is imminent. This is another good example of the environmental battle that happens as resources dwindle and we don’t have a proper modern taxing mechanism to fund our schools. The idea of cutting timber to fund schools was once a simple one, but now, it’s become a trade off of rare species vs. schools. It will take a brave legislator(s) to really end this practice and come up with a funding mechanism that properly funds our schools. It’s ironic, because the very district (Jefferson County) that probably thought this was a great idea once a 160 or so years ago, now is the one that brought the lawsuit demanding proper funding. And we are one of the most environmentally supportive counties in the state. I don’t see any legislators of the calibre to offer a new way forward. In fact, in conversations with them, they feel like they are unwilling to do anything more for the schools than they already have. Would love to be proven wrong.

SEATTLE — The Washington Board of Natural Resources voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the sale of 200 acres of the Olympic Peninsula that are home to the threatened marbled murrelet. The money from the timber sale will go to the University of Washington.

http://earthfix.kcts9.org/flora-and-fauna/article/controversial-olympic-peninsula-timber-sale-pits-e/

Enrollment now open for environmental project work for high school to 21 year olds

imageThe Skills Center Natural Resources program gets you outside doing real work in the environment.  We offer project-based classes to high school-aged students (up to 21 years old without a diploma) across the North Olympic Peninsula.  All classes include hands-on field work, offer high school and college credit, and help students transition to the next step of internship, college or career.

Enrollment is open now for second semester, which starts at the end of January.

Classes in Port Angeles include the new ‘Cultural and Natural Resources 1’ class, which meets after lunch daily, and 5 different ‘Natural Resources Options’ that meet after school one day per week.  Sequim and Forks each have three different ‘Natural Resources Options’ that meet after school one day per week.

For more information or to enroll, please contact teacher Dan Lieberman at 360-565-1892, dlieberman@portangelesschools.org, or www.nopsc.org/naturalresources.

 

image

Peninsula salmon projects get $4.5 million – PDN

Lots of good projects that are going to give jobs to folks here on the Peninsula, and help restore salmon habitat. The work is far from being completed, but it’s good to see these projects and land purchases get funded. Tying this together with the work described by Earth Economics over the weekend on this site, it’s worth it to note that there is value in these ecosystem renewal projects. Slowing the rivers by putting in log jams, for example, do not just provide scientifically proven habitat for salmon (especially young salmon migrating downstream), but they also aide in flood protection among other benefits. Flood plain protection is a value that lowers the cost to repairing damage from floods over multiple decades.

The state has awarded $4.5 million in grants for new salmon restoration projects on the North Olympic Peninsula. ….

Rob Ollikainen reports.

There’s quite a bit more to the story at:

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20131208/NEWS/312089997/peninsula-salmon-projects-get-45-million

 

Support local journalism, subscribe to the Peninsula Daily News.

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.

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

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