Check out Kai Tai Prairie Preserve!

From Jerry Gorsline:

20190331_112124The Spring bloom sequence has begun at the Port Townsend Kah Tai Prairie Preserve with the appearance of Spring Gold and Blue Eyed Grass (photo). Here’ the story of how this little botanical gem came to be preserved:

In the mid-1980s amateur botanists with the Olympic Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society noticed some unusual plants located in a couple of acres within the Spring Valley Golf Course, known today as the Port Townsend Municipal Golf Course.

Experts subsequently identified the area as a relic of the native prairie that once filled the Kah Tai Valley, also known as SPRING VALLEY. Located between the STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA and Port Townsend Bay, the valley once consisted of open prairies and estuaries. In the view of James McCurdy, native son of Port Townsend pioneers, the valley was a botanical delight: “Myriads of wild flowers transformed the valley floor into a many-hued carpet.”

Early development had quickly transformed most of this landscape; however, due to benign neglect this one small area within the golf course, “disguised,” as the Port Townsend Leader wrote, “as a ‘rough’ and thought of as little more than a bad place to lose your golf ball.” The site became the focus of conservation efforts and, when expanded facilities were proposed for the golf course, the Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society intervened, proposing in November 1986 that their organization be given a management role “with regard to the rare native plants that exist at the Spring Valley Golf Course.”

At first, claims made by Native Plant Society members that the site should be protected were perceived as a threat by golfers, and its claimants dismissed by the presiding Port Townsend mayor as mere “posy lovers.” However, when the City Park Board passed a motion to recommend the City Council accept the proposal submitted by the Native Plant Society, the Kah Tai Preserve was formally designated by the City in 1987.

Since that time, this remnant 1.4 acre prairie has been the focus of preservation and restoration by members of the Native Plant Society. Over 90 different species have since been identified, 27 of which represent “prairie indicator species” (indicating environmental conditions suitable for a community of related species), and the importance of this prairie remnant has been recognized by the Washington Natural Heritage Program. In addition, conservation efforts have not degraded the golf experience and, with the Preserve available for public viewing, has enhanced the site for the community as a whole.

With years of work from dedicated volunteers, the prairie is a stunning sight in the spring, starting with the early blooming grass widows (Olsynium douglasii) and progressing seasonally to the fields of brilliant blue camas (Camassia quamash).  The blue palette of the camas is mixed with white, yellow, and pink from the buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis), Pomo celery (Lomatium utriculatum), old man’s whiskers (Geum triflorum), and death camas (Zygadenus venenosus).  The heat of summer brings out the yellow and purple of dwarf goldenrod (Solidago spathulata) and showy fleabane (Erigeron speciosus).

Regular work parties have focused on stabilizing prairie plant communities and diligently battling ever-present weeds. Although the native rose and snowberry shrubs are thriving at the prairie, the goal is to promote herbaceous prairie species.  To this end the prairie has been mowed regularly in the fall and selectively burned in 2000 and in 2008 with help from the Nature Conservancy, the City of Port Townsend, and the Port Townsend Fire Department. The following growing season after burning yielded the immediate reward of a spectacular bloom. Other prairie preservation projects include seed collecting from the site and growing plants in the nursery for re-introduction to disturbed areas of the prairie. 

Research projects at the Kah Tai Prairie Preserve include the planting of golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta) in 2004. Seeds from this plant, which is on the federally endangered plant species list, were collected from the last 11 known sites. Kah Tai Prairie is the nearest location with a similar habitat to these remaining wild populations. The surviving golden paintbrush are monitored annually to determine the success rate, with findings recorded in the database of Natural Heritage Program. In addition, the Preserve was one of the sites selected for a research project to determine the genetic distribution of camas by indigenous people, for whom camas was an important food source.

Many college and school groups have visited the Preserve as part of ongoing restoration and educational programs.

http://www.wnps.org/olympic/projects/kahTaiPrairie/

Tarboo Ridge Coalition issues letter of concern to county commissioners

The Tarboo Ridge Coalition sums up the last year of debate over the proposed Tarboo Lake gun range proposal. Printed here for your information. The letter speaks for itself.


What’s Fair -What’s Not?

46 weeks have passed since Jefferson County agreed to mediation with Fort Discovery Inc., about a moratorium on new gun ranges and owner Joe D’Amico’s complaints about Jefferson County land use rules. Tarboo Ridge Coalition, which opposes Mr. D’Amico’s plans to build seven gun ranges at Tarboo Lake, asked to observe the mediation. State law allows citizen participation, but the County and Mr. D’Amico’s attorney denied our request.

A day after agreeing to “mediation”, Fort Discovery’s attorney and the County began regular weekly meetings. These meetings extended throughout the 16 weeks during which a committee helped the County create a new ordinance expanding the size, scope and intensity of allowed gun range activities. Mr. D’Amico was a member of this committee.

If the County Commissioners approve this new ordinance, gun ranges could be permitted to train corporate security organizations, military units, paramilitary groups and soldiers of fortune. The owner of the Fort Discovery Corporation said of the ordinance, “I think it’s fair.”

After nearly a year of meetings and communication between the County and Fort Discovery, they have not met with or appeared before a mediator. By definition no mediation has occurred. Nonetheless, whatever took place in those many meetings remains a secret because the County has redacted (blacked out) page after page of communications TRC obtained through public records requests.

What went on in those meetings should not be hidden from the public. What influence those secret meetings had on the content of this “fair” ordinance is unknown. TRC believes the County Commissioners should not finalize the new shooting range ordinance without fully allowing the public to know what went on behind closed doors. Openness, transparency, and trust in government demand no less.

Peter Newland, Board President

Tarboo Ridge Coalition

Limited Shellfish Opening at Fort Flagler, Kilisut Harbor and Mystery Bay

Port Townsend  Marine biotoxins that cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) have declined enough to allow recreational shellfish harvesting for oysters, manila clams and mussels at Fort Flagler, Kilisut Harbor and Mystery Bay. The area is still posted closed for harvesting of butter and varnish clams due to the fact that they remain toxic for longer than other shellfish species. In August, PSP concentrations quickly rose to over 1,700 micrograms per 100 grams of shellfish, and remained high into Fall. PSP levels above 80 micrograms are considered unsafe, and levels in the thousands can be lethal to humans. Crab meat is not known to contain the biotoxin but the guts can contain unsafe levels. To be safe, clean crab thoroughly and discard the guts (butter).

To make sure you are harvesting the correct shellfish species, consult the species identifier chart at: www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/Pubs/332-087.pdf. In most cases the algae that contain the toxins cannot be seen, and must be detected using laboratory testing. Therefore, recreational shellfish harvesters should check the Shellfish Safety map at www.doh.wa.gov/ShellfishSafety.htm or call the Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632 before harvesting shellfish anywhere in Washington State. Recreational harvesters should also check Fish and Wildlife regulations and seasons at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish or the Shellfish Rule Change Hotline 1-866-880-5431.

 

Anderson Lake at Warning Level

This just in from the Jefferson County Health Department.

Port Townsend – A toxic cyanobacteria (bluegreen algae) bloom that has kept Anderson Lake closed since early June has dissipated. Two consecutive samples taken by Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) on Tuesday, November 13 and Monday, November 26 showed that toxins have declined to safe levels. The anatoxin-a concentrations were found to be 0.168 and 0.129 micrograms per liter, respectively, and both of those samples are below the 1 microgram per liter recreational guideline set by the Washington Department of Health. Microcystin was found in the November 13 sample at concentrations below the recreational guideline of 6 micrograms per liter and it was not detected in the November 26 sample. With the recommendation from JCPH, Anderson Lake State Park will remove the closure signs and post the lake at a Warning level. Anderson Lake State Park will have limited parking available due to the gate remaining closed this season, but the lake will be open for walk-in fishing.

Algae species that can produce toxins are still present, and blooms can develop even in the winter, so the public is urged to follow these guidelines:

  • Use the lake at your own risk.
  • Avoid contact with areas of scum, or water that is green in color. Keep children and pets out of the water.
  • Clean fish well and discard the guts. Some algae toxins are known to accumulate in fish tissue.

Jefferson County Public Health has monitored local lakes for cyanobacteria since 2007. Regular monitoring of blooms, and toxin testing, have ended for the season but will resume in April, 2019.

To check the status of Jefferson County Lakes and learn more about toxic cyanobacteria monitoring, consult the JCPH website at https://www.jeffersoncountypublichealth.org/723/Lake-Status or call (360) 385-9444. For fishing seasons and regulations see the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website www.wdfw.wa.gov/fishing. Information on visiting Anderson Lake State Park is available at www.parks.state.wa.us/240/Anderson-Lake.

 

Tarboo Ridge Coalition charges D’Amico violated moratorium

The Tarboo Ridge Coalition, the group fighting the proposed shooting range in the south central part of Jefferson County, has charged that Joe D’Amico has violated the county’s moratorium on any construction on his property. D’Amico has a long history of irritating his neighbors by creating noise from gun shooting at his now closed facility along the shores of Discovery Bay.  It is unclear what the county commissioners and staff of Jefferson County will do to Mr. D’Amico, or whether this may ultimately compromise his ability to get a permit for construction. Flagrant violating of laws is usually seen as challenge that does not help those that do the violations. Here is the letter in full from the Tarboo Ridge Coalition to help you make up your own mind.

October 12, 2018

Joe D’Amico Ignores Jefferson County Moratorium Ordinance

A moratorium ordinance, unanimously passed on December 18, 2017 by the Jefferson County BOCC, prohibits the “the submission, acceptance, processing or approval of any Jefferson County permit applications for any proposed use, development, or project for siting, construction or modification of any commercial shooting facility…. during the moratorium”. The moratorium expires December 17, 2018.

Joe D’Amico wants to build a multi-range shooting compound at Tarboo Lake. He has chosen to ignore the County ordinance and submitted a permit application on October 3, 2018–fully 75 days in advance of the moratorium’s scheduled expiration.

The Tarboo Ridge Coalition, a citizen group that supports sensible planning and environmentally compatible development, opposes D’Amico’s proposed weapons compound on the shores of Tarboo Lake. They have formally objected to the County accepting D’Amico’s application. It remains to be seen whether the BOCC will enforce their moratorium ordinance and hand Mr. D’Amico’s paperwork back to him.

Diane Johnson, a TRC board member noted, “ TRC presented over 1200 petition signatures in support of the moratorium. Last week the Commissioners were all complaining that they seem to be losing the public’s trust. If they do the logical thing and enforce their own ordinance they might get some trust back. Otherwise public participation seems to mean nothing.”

The next BOCC meeting is Monday October 14 with public comment beginning at 9:00 AM. TRC encourages everyone to make their voices heard.

####

Contact: Peter Newland

425-754-0700

www.tarbooridgecoalition.org

 

Kailin, Doyle honored with Eleanor Stopps environmental award – PDN

A 99 year old doctor from Sequim who was pivotal in stopping both a nuclear plant that was planned for the Miller Peninsula (just west of Cape George) as well as the planned Northern Tier pipeline that was planned to run through the waters off Protection Island, was honored with the Eleanor Stopps annual environmental award. Along with Dr. Eloise Kailin, young Sara Doyle was also a co-recipient, the first time the award was given to two people, and the youngest person to receive it. Doyle has been the Stewardship coordinator for the North Olympic Salmon Coalition. Eleanor Stopps was the woman who worked tirelessly for over a decade to turn Protection Island into a National Wildlife Refuge in 1982.

Read more on the story at the Peninsula Daily News

Kailin, Doyle honored with Eleanor Stopps environmental award

 

Jefferson Dems Endorse All Candidates

In a high spirited meeting running over three hours, Jefferson County Democrats endorsed all candidates presented on their slate. The entire list can be viewed under the tab at the top of this page, titled 2018 Elections.

The three candidates that drew the most debate were Joe Nole for Sheriff, Maria Cantwell for Senator and Derek Kilmer for House of Representatives.

The debate on Joe Nole’s endorsement came from a group of people in support of Sheriff Stanko who brought up issues that had happened under Nole’s temporary leadership as interim sheriff in the months before Dave Stanko’s election. They also discussed issues of aggressive policing, (not by Joe but by officers under his command at that point) and positions that Joe was claimed to have made. Ultimately, a series of speakers who have worked with Mr. Nole, including outgoing County Commissioner Kathleen Kler, allowed for a clear win for endorsement.

Opposition to Derek Kilmer came from what is known as the “Progressives”, who primarily are supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders. They identified a number of issues that Rep. Kilmer has not taken a stand on, or has supported such as Single Payer Healthcare, bills that supported Israel to the exclusion of Palestinians, and his vote supporting the massive recent military budget (HR5515) and tax bills, which far exceeded the demands of President Trump. To be clear, many Democrats ended up supporting the bills as there were numerous items added that they requested. Representative Kilmer also has not achieved anything of substance around the expansion of the Navy airbase and it’s subsequent noise issues for the entire north Sound and Strait. He has done nothing of substance to also protect the west end of the Olympic Peninsula from being used as a Navy training ground with low flying jets over the west side of the Olympic National Park. These issues have engendered huge meeting turnouts and thousands of letters of support for him to take action. However, as of this writing, his efforts have returned nothing of consequence on the issue. Representative Kilmer  has been endorsed 100% by Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Campaign, and to a lesser degree, by the ACLU (88%) and The League for Conservation Voters (92%). His entire voting record can be viewed here:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/derek_kilmer/412583

Similar issues were raised about Senator Maria Cantwell. Senator Cantwell did vote no on the Defense Appropriations Act. Senator Cantwell has been endorsed 100% by Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Campaign, and to a lesser degree, by the ACLU (88%) and The League for Conservation Voters (91%). Her voting record can be found at

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/maria_cantwell/300018

Both these candidates have been strong supporters  of environmental bills.

Supporters of the two argued for Democratic unity in the face of goals to take back the House and Senate, along with positive bills that both had supported. Ultimately, both easily won endorsement.

 

 

 

 

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