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/

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

 

Port Townsend Marine Science Center offers admission by donation to Natural History Exhibit

Pilot program will run through March 25

 

PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. – The Port Townsend Marine Science Center announced today it is offering “admission by donation” to the Natural History Exhibit through March 25. The exhibit, which features “Learning From Orcas: The Story of Hope,” is open Friday through Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m., with last admission at 4 p.m.
“We would all like to see more visitors in the Natural History Exhibit, especially this time of year,” said PTMSC Executive Director Janine Boire. “Because we want to serve people from all walks of life, our admission pricing is already low, but even this can be a barrier for some visitors to Fort Worden State Park and from our community.
“We are hoping that this test period between now and the end of March will provide information about how we can best serve our community and visitors alike,” Boire said.
The “pay-as-you-wish” policy has, in recent years, been tested by museums across the county. A 2010 study reported in Science magazine measured the success of selling some souvenir photographs at a fixed price and others for whatever buyers were willing to pay. Researchers found that the greatest revenue came when consumers were informed that a percentage of what they paid went to a charitable cause.
“When visiting the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, we hope our
guests will support our many programs and contribute to our cause —
inspiring conservation of the Salish Sea — by offering a donation
instead of paying admission,” Boire said.
The PTMSC provides place-based, people powered, hands-on learning for all ages, including youth camps, exhibits of marine flora and fauna, educational and historical displays, citizen science programs and community-based lecture series.
The Natural History Exhibit will implement the admission-by-donation policy immediately.
The Marine Exhibit, located on the pier, is closed during the winter and is not affected by the admission-by-donation policy at this time.
“Once we have a couple of months of data to review and compare to past years, we will decide how best to proceed with our admissions policy for our public exhibits starting in the spring,” Boire said.
To view year-round exhibit hours, visit https://ptmsc.org/left-menu/visit-us.
About the Port Townsend Marine Science Center 
Founded in 1982, the Port Townsend Marine Science Center is a non-profit 501c3 educational organization whose mission is to inspire conservation of the Salish Sea. The PTMSC provides place-based, people powered, hands-on learning for all ages including youth camps, exhibits of marine flora and fauna, educational and historical displays, citizen science programs and community-based lecture series. Located at Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, Wash., the PTMSC offers two public exhibits: the Marine Exhibit and the Natural History Exhibit. For more information, including public hours, visit www.ptmsc.org.

Job Opening in PT

From Amy Leitman:
I am looking to hire someone to help fill some of my shoes here at Marine Surveys & Assessments. The position that I need to fill here in PT needs to have some experience working with agencies and/or clients and have worked through project conflicts. Biology background  required.  I am mostly looking for someone to pick up some of my responsibilities…
1. project management
2. RFP/RFQ Grant applications
3. Client/Agency interactions
4. Misc critical area site visits
5. Misc ESA and Critical Area report writing
I need someone who will not shirk from conflict and is happy to work in a dynamic and fluid work environment with lots of perks, team work, and interesting ecological puzzles.
Obviously, I would need someone to live near PT and/or at least come in 3 days a week.
Lots more information available. I would ideally like to see:
1. A cover letter
2. A resume
3. A short sample of writing
Call or email for more information as I look for my cinderell/a.
Thanks so much for passing the word around to qualified folks.
Amy Leitman
marine.surveys.inc@gmail.com

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

A part time position available for someone with program coordination.

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Environmental Films at the Port Townsend Film Festival

Check the listings but there are a wide range of interesting environmental films showing this weekend.

  • Call of the Ice
  • Learning to See: The World of Insects
  • Seed: The Untold Story
  • Voyagers without A Trace
  • The Cherokee Word for Water -*highly recommended*
  • Kickass Katie Lee
  • The Important Places
  • Pronghorn Revival
  • Selah: Water from Stone
  • The Super Salmon
  • Elk River
  • Property
  • 26 Years and Counting

Photo of the Day: Stalked Tunicate

Another beauty by photographer Bruce Kerwin from under Point Hudson Jetty.DSC_7202 Stalked Tunicate and Hard Gnarled Clump Sponge? - Point HudsonWhite glove leather colonial tunicate overgrowing a bladder clam with the incurrent and excurrent siphons showing (identification by Andy Lamb) – Point Hudson at Port Townsend, Washington

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