Port Townsend Paper Mill Acquired by Atlas Holdings

The parent company of Port Townsend Paper Mill, Crown Paper, has been acquired by a holding company out of Greenwich, Connecticut named Atlas Corporation. Atlas is a holding company that owns many natural resource companies, including recent acquisition of Foster Farms chicken processing. They also own and operate a diversified group of manufacturing and distribution businesses around the world. Many of these businesses are paper mills and many more operate in related industries, such as packaging, printing, and receipts and labels.

With Crown, Atlas now owns and operates 26 manufacturing and distribution businesses with approximately 50,000 associates across more than 300 global locations. While Atlas was founded in 2002, many of their companies have been in business for more than 100 years and are pillars of their local communities.

From their press release:

“Atlas has a long and established track record of investing in the pulp, paper and packaging industries, partnering with exceptional leadership teams to revitalize and strengthen companies for the long term. We’ve invested significant resources and partnered with companies at an inflection point in their journey, and we view Crown as another opportunity to put this experience to work. Today, these companies, including Finch Paper, Iconex, Marcal, Millar Western Forest Products and Twin Rivers Paper Company, are leaders in their markets,” added Atlas Partner Sam Astor.

“Atlas has owned and operated businesses that have similar operations and footprints as Crown, including paper mills, packaging manufacturers and wood products leaders with operations in the U.S. and Canada. In each case, these companies have been strong economic engines in their local economies. As such, we bring a unique set of capabilities and relevant experience to our partnership with Randy and the Crown Team,” said Janet O’Neil, Senior Vice President at Atlas Holdings.

Atlas also announced the appointment of paper and packaging industry executive Randy Nebel as Chairman of the Crown Board of Directors. Nebel has extensive experience in the sector, having previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Verso Corporation (NYSE: VRS), a leading North American producer of graphic, specialty and packaging paper and market pulp, and President of Longview Paper & Packaging, a leading manufacturer of high-quality containerboard, corrugated products and other specialty papers.

Port Townsend Paper Corporation is a leading provider of high-quality recycled and virgin kraft containerboard, kraft pulp and specialty products in Port Townsend, Washington. The two converting facilities, known as Crown Packaging and Boxmaster, operate with extensive customer reach and distribution capabilities throughout British Columbia and Alberta. 

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)

EVENT: “We Are Puget Sound” Photo Exhibit at PTMSC

Washington Environmental Council is partnering with the Port Townsend Marine Science Center to bring this exhibit to the north Olympic Peninsula community. The We Are Puget Sound traveling photo exhibit will be on display at the Marine Science Center’s Flagship store in downtown Port Townsend from December 18, 2021 through February 2022.

The photo series explores people, places, and wildlife through extraordinary images, describes human connections in the past and present, and showcases community members engaged in remarkable efforts that benefit Puget Sound and all of us.  

The in-person photo exhibit will inspire and engage people on the Olympic Peninsula to join together and preserve this vital ecosystem and the livelihoods they support by focusing on one action each month from the campaign’s 10 Things You Can Do for Puget Sound.

The exhibit highlights 18 striking images from the book We Are Puget Sound: Discovering and Recovering the Salish Sea (Braided River, 2019). It also features work from  13 regional photographers showcasing individuals who are working to find meaningful solutions to protect the Puget Sound’s waters, wildlife, and the human health and economic prosperity this region supports.

PT City Council Approves Water Contract Update

An update based on the Sierra Club’s Peter Guerrero’s take on this. And also my thoughts at the end.


On Monday, the City Council voted unanimously to approve the new water agreement that includes raises in the cost of water to city residents, along with a new contract with the PT Paper Mill and improvements to the pipeline infrastructure. The agreement incorporates the Sierra Club’s recommendations for charging the mill for water used ($4.5 million/year) and for increasing these charges, over time, to encourage conservation. Unfortunately, the agreement establishes the current mill water usage of 11MGD/day as the baseline without seeking any reductions, resulting in the mill continuing to account for over 91% of all water consumed from the Quilcene watershed.

Both the mill and the city got what they wanted: The mill was assured of being able to continue using up to 11MGD while the city was able to put together a “partnership” that avoided having to go to the bond market and that was of a sufficient duration (20 years), avoiding draconian residential rate increases. It was more important for the city to get the mill to offset the steep capital costs of the Olympic Ground Water System (OGWS) than to achieve the kind of conservation gains the Sierra Club and other environmental activists would have liked to see.


Unfortunately, it is likely to be an unstable agreement given the past economic history of the mill and its aging infrastructure. Both suggest the mill may not be around for the full 20-year term of the agreement, leaving the city having to pay tens of millions for infrastructure improvements anyway. Knowing this, the city also voted last night to unanimously to create an industrial water rate, allowing it to sell water to another entity (industrial, PUD, etc.) if needed.


The next debate will be over increases to residential rates required by the agreement. Residential ratepayers have already expressed concern that they are “paying” for the mill’s excessive water use. Unfortunately the city doesn’t see a viable alternative at this time.


Environmentalists will have a second opportunity come 2025-2029 when the USFS will be reconsidering the city’s special use permit allowing it to withdraw water from the Quilcene Watershed.


I would also like to add that one thing I learned by listening to the discussion and reading the agreement is that we are extremely vulnerable to the impending climate changes that are unfolding around us. One issue that was mentioned was that the city looked into substituting well water for the water coming from the mountains and found that there is not nearly enough to supply our needs, let alone the mill. My personal take on the agreement is that it could have been set to a 10 year renewal, given the changing climate. It was also odd that there is no mention of the impact of our taking of significant water from the rivers, given the efforts to restore salmon in those streams. It certainly was never considered in the original setup of the water system.

It also brings up the issue of growth of the city. As new housing developments continue at the roundabout on Discovery Road and also on Cook Avenue there will be a need for more water for the city. The mill is guaranteed 11 MGD. But if the city increases water use, there is more revenue for the OGWS. This is a perverse reversal of conservation, the built reward to grow the city’s water use by greater development in order to lower water costs for all. But the caveat is that if there’s drought conditions and the water is not at the level needed, and does not replenish the holding lakes, we could be in for greater conservation and higher rates.

The water is stored in two holding lakes and we usually end up shifting to drawing from them exclusively by mid summer. As the planet warms and the snow packs become lessened, we will be drawing on those lakes sooner and sooner in the year. That day is coming in the next two to five years, once those large scale developments are built out. That was not discussed by the City Council. Not even a question on it, unless I missed it.

.  

First-ever water shortage declared on the Colorado River, triggering water cuts for some states in the West – WA Post

While we watch as the megadrought blankets the west this should be a wake up call to those of us up here on the Peninsula that managing our water resources for the next ten years is likely to be a guessing game. Will the snows come again as expected? If not, how will it affect the flows in the rivers we rely on for our drinking water?

Right now, there has been discussions between the Port Townsend Mill and the City, on renewing a long term lease for the right to use our drinking water source for the mill manufacturing, as they have done for a century. My suggestion? Go for a 10 year lease and revisit it then. We seem to be ok for the immediate future. But 10 years from now it could be a very different situation.

22-year drought — the region’s most severe in more than a millennium — and climate change have made that fundamental problem worse. The alpine snowpack that feeds the river has been diminishing and was melting earlier this year. Parched soil soaks up much of it before it even enters rivers and streams. Extreme heat evaporates water in Lake Mead and other reservoirs more quickly and causes evaporation from plants.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/08/16/colorado-river-water-cuts-drought/

Port of Port Townsend approves grant application for Point Hudson jetty – PDN

As readers of this blog may know, there have been concerns raised about the sea life attached to the old jetty. Some rare species have been found on it. More research will be needed to understand the impact, and the diving community of Jefferson County have weighed in and are following the issue closely.


The Port of Port Townsend commissioners unanimously agreed to resubmit a grant application to the federal Economic Development Administration to assist with reconstruction of the Point Hudson Breakwater jetty. The Economic Development Administration (EDA) initially deferred its decision for the $11.28 million grant the port requested. But now the EDA has said it is open to reconsidering funding the project with about $9.3 million. Zach Jablonski reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Peninsula Daily News

Port of Port Townsend approves grant application for Point Hudson jetty

Jamestown S’Klallam propose a commercial aquaculture operation at Point Hudson

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe is proposing a commercial aquaculture operation at Point Hudson. The Tribe is asking the port to allow them to put in a FLUPSY, a device to create an upwelling of water to help young oyster spat.

The meeting with the Port Commissioners to discuss this proposal is online on WEDS. SEPT 23rd at 5:30 PM.

Zoom instructions and agenda are here: https://portofpt.com/event/regular-business-meeting-2-2020-04-22-2020-09-23/

While on the surface this seems benign, it has raised a number of issues that Karen Sullivan, who has a boat in Point Hudson, researched. The following information comes from a letter she wrote the Port Commissioners. The questions are quite intersesting in that they raise issues that many of us might not think to raise. One example is the Wooden Boat Show. Here’s all of the letter. Draw your own conclusions. Zoom in on Wedsnesday if you have comments. Will likely be earlier on the agenda. It’s the first major order of business after the introductory issues.


To:  Port of Port Townsend 

From:  Karen Sullivan and James Heumann, Port tenants 

Date:  September 21, 2020 

Subject: Concerns about proposed commercial aquaculture operations in Point  Hudson Marina 

We are writing to express our concerns about the proposal to establish oyster  aquaculture operations at the Point Hudson Marina. It was surprising to see this potentially controversial item listed so ambiguously on the Port’s agenda for the  September 23 meeting: “Jamestown S’Klallam presentation: FLUPSY and upland use  at Point Hudson.” 

How many of the Port’s constituents would know that a FLUPSY is a Floating  Upweller System, and how many would recognize it as an in-water aquaculture  project? Use of a cute, innocuous-sounding acronym with reference only to upland activity requires readers to know what a FLUPSY is, downplays its potential impacts,  and fails to acknowledge potential public interest. Without public scrutiny, project approval would fail standards of fairness, impartiality, and prevention of conflicts of  interest. The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe said it is working with the Port; now the  Port needs to work with the public.  

Our concerns include environmental, financial, social, procedural and legal  compliance issues. We believe these and other questions and concerns must be fully  answered before the Port can approve such a project. 

1. Size and impact of floats/barges: Currently, an oyster spat-raising operation by  the project proponent exists at the John Wayne Marina. These “floats,” which are  also called barges, are not “small” as is claimed in news accounts. A Google Earth  screen capture shows their placement and size at that marina. They are much larger  than any of the surrounding boats. 

2. Noise/smell: The paddlewheel in the right photo above is the mechanism for  producing upwelling in these barges. We are concerned about levels of noise and/or  smells from operations in close quarters with marina tenants. 

3. Wooden Boat Festival: Point Hudson is a small and very popular harbor  destination, not to mention the home of the Wooden Boat Festival, so the impact of  one or more FLUPSYs on available slip space as well as on the Wooden Boat Festival is likely to be disproportionately large. It also raises more questions: 

Would these barges remain in place during the Wooden Boat Festival? 

If so, how would matters of public safety and liability be handled with the  large crowds we get at the festival? 

What would be the financial and/or other impacts to the festival of lost  berthing space? Have festival organizers been consulted? 

4. Marina/tenant concerns:  

What is the cost-benefit of reducing slip space for boats whose owners  patronize local businesses, for the sake of a commercial tenant whose  operations do not benefit and may even harm the local community?  

What hazard and liability assessments have been done for scenarios in which  a storm breaches the weakened Point Hudson jetty and large waves enter the  marina? What protections are proposed or in place for potential damages? Could the Port be sued for damages by the project operators? 

How often is the spat harvested? It is our understanding that large semi trucks are needed in order to deliver the oyster seed and to transport the  harvested product. What disruptions can be expected to the marina’s docks  and/or parking or walking access? Where does the Port propose to park  these trucks in a marina already squeezed for space?  

It’s our understanding that the tanks are brightly lighted 24/7. How could  this not impact marina tenants and Northwest Maritime Center activities? Residents of Quilcene Bay have complained about glaring night lights from an  oyster operation that have driven herons and eagles from their roosting  trees.  

5. Spat or adult oysters? Another concern is the wording in the Peninsula Daily  News article, “When the oysters are mature enough, they will be relocated to  another facility.” That facility is not named. But because the article also states the  oysters would be sold in the proposed Point Hudson commercial store and bar, it  means they could be raising the oysters here and not relocating them. We are  concerned about the possibility of commercial feed being used if the latter scenario is accurate. Ecosystem effects of raising oysters to maturity, including using  commercial feed in such an enclosed space as Point Hudson harbor, would be far  more impactful. 

6. Consultation with agencies: With the slip-filling size of these semi-permanent  barges comes additional shading of the seabed, something that for dock  construction triggers permits. Being semi-permanent as opposed to the smaller  transient vessels, barge-sized shading impacts to the seabed would be more like  those of docks. Permits generate consultation with state or federal agencies.  Consultation with either one triggers a public process such as an Environmental  Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement under State or Federal  environmental policy laws. Federal funding also triggers this, and according to the  Tribe’s 2017 Report to Tribal Citizens, federal funding was used to purchase FLUPSYs. In cases where the federal nexus is present, the Bureau of Indian Affairs is  obligated to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement or an Environmental  Assessment. A public process with adequate comment periods would be proper and  necessary. 

7. EIS or EA required: Given the wide array of concerns along with the federal  nexus mentioned above, it would appear that this project cannot be said to have no  significant or cumulative impact on the quality of the human environment;  therefore, it would require an Environmental Impact Statement or Environmental  Assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). 

8. Discharge of waste into water: Washing the tanks after spat is harvested would  discharge waste materials into marina waters. This is a “discharge into waters of the  United States,” meaning that whether or not it falls into the category of point- or  nonpoint source pollution, it would trigger the need for a permit and monitoring  under the Clean Water Act.  

9. Historic Preservation conflict: In February 2020, the Port met with  representatives from the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation to discuss  preservation of the historic Point Hudson Marina and its surrounding buildings. The  purpose of a partnership agreement between the two agencies was to “…work  together to maintain Point Hudson’s historic waterfront character.” How do  commercial aquaculture operations fit into such plans for a seaport city with a  National Historic designation that is world-renowned for its traditional maritime  character? Is it worth it for the Port to make such a radical change in community established purposes for Point Hudson? 

10. National Historic Preservation Act issues: In keeping with the  aforementioned concern, there should be a formal consultation under authority of  the National Historic Preservation Act. 

11. Leased building purpose: What is the nature of the proposed leased building  operations beyond an “oyster bar,” and would it include any processing operations and/or storage of equipment, live product, chemicals, hazardous materials, or would  it house non-food-bar related activities? We are concerned that if chemicals are to  be stored on premises and were spilled, that potential environmental non compliance issues could shut down neighboring business such as Sea Marine. 

12. Partners with Cooke Aquaculture: The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe is in  business partnership with Cooke Aquaculture, whose operations have been  problematic to the environment and the subject of state shutdowns and litigation.  We are concerned about the possibility of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe running or  expanding its aquaculture operations at Point Hudson in concert with a company  whose stewardship for the environment has been questionable. 

13. Oyster aquaculture not harmless: The negative effects of oyster aquaculture,  including the raising of seed or spat, are well known. Oyster spat operations pull  nutrients from the water including nitrogen; nutrient removal can have a  detrimental effect on eelgrass beds. Port Townsend uses buoy markers to  discourage anchoring in its eelgrass beds. We are concerned about harm to these  ecologically important eelgrass beds. 

14. Paying bills on time? Conversations with the marina manager at John Wayne  reveal that the Tribe has sometimes delayed payment for moorage as much as six or  more months. This seems like a high risk for little benefit.  

Thank you for your attention to these matters. We write because we care about  maintaining the traditional maritime values of Point Hudson and the health of our  marine environment. We cannot see how the proposed project would be compatible with either. 

Sincerely, 

Karen Sullivan and Jim Heumann

Friends of Fort Worden launches ‘Nix the Nox!’ campaign

Friends of Fort Worden State Park is launching a “Nix the Nox!” fundraising campaign to raise $25,000 for restoring natural habitat and increasing safety for park visitors.

“Our focus for the funds will be controlling noxious invasive plant species,” said Janine Anderson, a member of the Friends board who prefers to promote native Northwest plants. “We’re giving special emphasis to poison hemlock.”

Poison hemlock is highly toxic to the touch and can be fatal if ingested, Anderson said. It has spread widely in the past five to 10 years, and its presence in the most-visited parts of the park is a significant health hazard.

“You can see it along many trails and in hillside campsites and beach areas,” she said.

Donations to the Friends Challenge Grant will be combined with $5,000 from an anonymous donor. The funds will support efforts of volunteers, two AmeriCorps positions already funded by the Friends, and professional services for noxious weed control.

To make a tax-deductible donation, people can visit the Friends website at fwfriends.org. If you have questions, send an email to contact@fwfriends.org.

“Our Nix the Nox campaign is our largest multiyear commitment to restoring the natural habitat of the park,” Anderson said. “Donations will help keep Fort Worden one of Washington’s magical treasures.

The project is contingent on our success in raising the needed funds and final board approval of the funding, she said.

Friends of Fort Worden is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that strives to preserve and enhance the state park as a recreational, historical, educational, and natural resource. It works closely with park management and 14 other partner organizations in the park to provide help where and when we can.

“The Friends bring so much support to Fort Worden,” said Park Manager Brian Hageman. “They contribute to great park improvements that enhance the experience of our park patrons.”

EVENT: Beyond Waste Action Group 9/10

Beyond Waste Action Group – Local 20/20 – Tues  September 10th
The Beyond Waste Action Groupmeets the second Tuesday of each month at either 10:30 a.m.-12:00 or 7pm-8:30pm, depending on the month.  The group looks at a number of issues including food-waste composting, plastics reduction and recycling, reduction of garbage on an individual and community level, and various other waste-related topics that spontaneously come up during the meeting.  Newcomers are always welcome. Email Lisafor info on monthly agenda and meeting time and venue. Location: Uptown PT.
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Location:  contact Lisa.

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.

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

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

Photo of the day – Decorated Warbonnet

Here’s another from Bruce Kirwin’s great collection of sea-life at Point Hudson, in Port Townsend. This jetty is slated for demolition and rebuilding in 2016, due to age and condition. The dive community is hoping to work with the Port to mitigate the consequences to underwater creatures such as this.

DSC_7283 - Barge Point Hudson - Decorated Warbonnet

Decorated Warbonnet in the barge at Point Hudson

Oil spill Community Preparedness and Response Workshop held in PT

Good turnout for today’s oil spill response workshop in Port Townsend. Lots of great information, and the ability to chat with representatives of the Coast Guard, and the Oil Spill Team Section, gave a good understanding of what are the processes, and what gaps exist in our ability to handle a spill, large or small, here in the area.

20131109-113719.jpgRobin DuPre from the NW Straits Foundation, sponsors of the workshops.

Why to vote no on the Jefferson County Charter Proposal

Yesterday, I received the following email from a long time friend and environmental activist, Fayette Krause. I am enclosing it with my thoughts, many of which mirror Fayette’s. Fayette’s letter spurred me to finish writing down my thoughts on the proposed Charter County proposals, as the county Democrats are going to hold an endorsement meeting on Sept 17th. I believe the Charter proponents are well intentioned, but ultimately proposing a fundamental change to the County structure that will not benefit the County, and in fact, may bring more problems. Here’s why.

I plan to vote “No” on the Charter for the following reasons. These are somewhat different and re-prioritized from Fayette’s.

1. This does not fix the root causes. It goes after the symptoms.

1A. Is the root cause of putting forward a Charter County a disconnect between the majority of voters and the elected officials? Jefferson County already has the highest percentage voter turnout in the State. We have elected both conservatives and progressives over the last couple of decades. The problem does not seem to be voter apathy to issues, or some kind of disconnect between the electorate and the County officials. Our county allows citizens to vote out incumbents and choose a candidate that more closely allies with our ideas/ideals. For progressives, the current County Commission has generally been very responsive, and was elected as a reaction to a previous more conservative group of Commissioners who approved such ill-conceived developments as the Pit To Pier project, which was ultimately was brought down by economics, and changes at a State level. On another issue, our current Commissioners spent a large amount of time to research and discuss the Shoreline Master Program and Critical Areas Ordinance for example. I don’t think that any of the progressives now supporting the Charter would argue that our elected officials’ stance on those were wrong. They have supported protection of special places, such as Dabob Bay. They have fought net-pens in our county, offering options to their deployment that the State refused to accept. They have supported numerous other progressive measures.

If the root cause is a lack of enough commissioners to guarantee more representation, the Charter does not necessarily accomplish that. Adding more Commissioners does not mean that things will be more representative. San Juan County voted in a Charter County, with 6 commissioners and found that it was too expensive and didn’t guarantee any better representation of the citizens, so they returned to 3 after great expense to the county.

1B. Is the root cause a lack of a initiative process to stop state mandated issues like net-pens?

The charter and initiative process, on a county basis, will not likely stop net-pens. I have heard it stated by the Charter County advocates that we can create an initiative to ban net-pens. I don’t see any legal basis for a local initiative to succeed at that. The root cause for the requirement for net pens is at the State level, not county. State DOE holds the authority to allow net pens on aquatic lands, and allows the counties to help write the rules to those lands, both for getting local input and saving the state money. DOE and the State reserve the right to undo any proposals, like these that they see fit. The only way I see to implement a ban on net pens in the State waters, is to implement a state wide initiative, and I believe that the charter advocates that want a net pen ban should take that route, rather than overhaul our county rules to achieve a goal that likely will do nothing to solve the problem.

2. I have no guarantee that the Freeholders that get elected are going to craft a better governance document!
The freeholder election has numerous very conservative candidates running for Freeholder positions. Should a majority of these candidates win, there is no telling where they may take the Charter. The law of unintended consequences looks to be very likely to happen if we don’t elect the slate that we want.

3. This is going to cost the county more money, not less.
We currently can’t afford to take care of our county parks, yet well meaning people want the county to spend money on the Charter. Even with a minor amount of change we will pay to implement that change.
Initiative challenges will cost us more money. This is not a revenue neutral proposal. (see below).

4. The Initiative process does not guarantee beneficial results.

While originally well intentioned, Tim Eyman’s manipulation of the initiative process has shown us that just because you create and vote to approve one, it will not necessarily get you the outcomes you expect. Much of our State Ferry rate increases that we have lived under here in Jefferson County, and affect us the most, were begun in the wake of Eyman’s I-695 initiative and it’s outcome on State highway revenues. (while it was declared unconstitutional it’s goals were implemented by elected officials afraid of opposing Eyman).

There is a belief that County initiatives supersede State and Federal law. I have seen nothing that makes me believe that, and would like to see backers support that contention. I see an outcome where local initiatives are challenged by the very corporations that you want to keep out, and cost the county money to challenge in court.

Standard variety initiatives will be challenged by those who lose, which has been the case with Eyman’s initiatives at the State level. Out of Eyman’s 19 initiatives and one referendum 12 failed or were voted out and 5 have been ruled unconstitutional! Many have been ruled unconstitutional after costly legal challenges. The cost to the State in challenges has never had a dollar figure placed on it. We in this small county cannot afford to spend money on court challenges like this, when we can’t even fund our existing county needs.

5. This idea has not had an appropriate amount of time for debating the issue.

For all these reasons, I hope that friends who are members of the Jefferson County Democrats can attend and vote no in this upcoming meeting. The meeting takes place at 7PM on Sept 17th. I hope all of you will vote no on Charter County at the upcoming election.

Al B. – Editor

From: Fayette Krause
Date: Sat, Sep 7, 2013 at 5:38 PM
Subject: Where are you?
To: “Undisclosed-Recipient:;”@userservices.net

Regarding the proposed Charter? I am contacting some Demos that I know re the special endorsement mtg on Sept. 17 at the Community Ctr in P.T. I plan to vote “No” on the Charter for several reasons:

1. The Freeholder election has numerous very conservative candidates running for the Freeholder positions. Should a majority of these candidates win, there is no telling where they may take the Charter.

2. The Charter idea is rushed and will lack a reasonable time frame for debate. Further, it is complicated and difficult to distill to a few soundbites — something we should avoid anyway.

3. Our state has seen where the Initiative has taken us recently. Originally this idea was a highly progressive instrument, designed to circumvent corporate-controlled state legislatures. It can still be used this way by progressives, but the Tim Eyman’s of Washington have also learned how to use this legislation effectively, to the detriment of state government.

4. What’s broken here? If there is a problem with county governance, we can vote out the incumbents and choose a candidate that more closely allies with our ideas/ideals. For progressives, the current County Commission has generally been very responsive, opposing ill-conceived developments, supporting protection for special places like Dabob Bay, fighting net-pens in the Straits and Hood Canal, and generally supporting other progressive measures.

5. There is a dollar cost to the County, for running the election, and an unknown and unpredictable cost should our current system be changed by adopting a Charter. The price tag could be relatively low, but any change is likely to require some additional costs.

These are only a few of the reasons that I am uncomfortable with the Charter idea, despite the fact that a number of progressive and very well-meaning people support it. While commending them for their work in raising the issue, I cannot support the Charter idea.

The endorsement vote will be taken at the 7:00 mtg on Sept. 17. Only members of the JeffCo Demo Party can vote, and the requirement for either a negative or positive endorsement is 2/3 of the voters, plus one. Consequently, it is important to have a large and informed turn-out.

I hope you can attend.

Fayette

Washington State Legislature Approves Ultrafine Particle Study for Jefferson and Clallam Counties

This is extremely good news to a start on finding out what kinds of pollution we are breathing and if the new biomass plants are actually doing something that needs cleaning up. That is, if they are built, which seems not a sure thing at this point in time, due to economics, not environmental concerns, unfortunately.

___________________________________________

The Olympic Clean Air Agency and the University of Washington propose to jointly study air quality in Jefferson and Clallam Counties. This project will evaluate possible air quality changes associated with new biomass co-generation facilities in Port Townsend and Port Angeles and changes in ultra-fine particle concentrations associated with both facilities. The project will support state of the art measurements of ultra-fine particles and will respond directly to concerns of the two communities around health effects and industrial development.

Background

Concerns regarding greenhouse gas emissions and climate change have encouraged the development of biomass fueled power stations, i.e. biomass cogeneration plants. The biomass fuel varies for each region and can include sugar-cane stalk, corn and rice straw, and palm and woody debris to name a few. This form of power generation is controversial within the “green” community. Proponents claim that burning biomass contributes a net zero addition to atmospheric carbon dioxide compared to fossil fuel combustion [Taylor, 2010]. The carbon released during biomass combustion will be re-used in plant material for the next cycle of energy generation, while fossil fuels represent carbon that has been stored for millennia. Since new co-generation plants are required to use Best Available Control Technology (BACT) to prevent degradation of air quality, supporters further argue that burning biomatter in the plant is cleaner than slash burning outdoors and actually helps improve air quality. Furthermore, industry has been burning biomass waste for years without converting it to usable power, and therefore claim a net gain in power produced vs. carbon released [Taylor, 2010]. The US Department of Energy recognizes biomass co-generation plants as a renewable energy source and has awarded grants to finance their design and operation. (http://www.srs.gov/general/news/releases/nr12_doe-biomass-startup.pdf)

Opponents of biomass fueled co-generation are primarily concerned about subsequent environmental damage and the cleanliness of the technology. They claim that burning biomass will endanger forest land by increasing logging operations and argue that slash should be left to decompose on the forest floor. The primary concern regarding biomass fueled power centers on the release of harmful toxins and fine particulate that can negatively impact the health of residents living near the co-generation plants. Specifically, activists are concerned about ultrafine particles –diameters less than 100 nm – that are not detected by standard air monitoring instruments [Keywooda et al., 1999] and to which recent research ascribes significant health impacts [Keywooda et al., 1999; Morawska et al., 2004].

Recently two new biomass cogeneration plants were approved for installation on the Olympic Peninsula, one at Nippon Paper Industries in Port Angeles and the other at Port Townsend Paper Company in Port Townsend. Both mills have been burning woody biomass as waste for several decades. Construction of these co-generation plants requires installation of emission control technology predicted to decrease the total PM2.5 emitted, despite increasing the mass of fuel burned by a factor of three. PM2.5 is the mass concentration of atmospheric particles with diameters less than 2.5 microns. Other gaseous emissions such as Volatile Organic Compounds and NOx will roughly increase by 35 and 18 tons per year respectively. Despite these pollution controls, and maybe because of them, there is concern that although PM2.5 will decrease, the number of ultrafine particles, which may be more hazardous to respiratory and cardio health, will increase. Research has shown that when PM2.5 decreases, co-emitted gases like SO2 and NOx have less surface area on which to condense and are thus more likely to homogeneously nucleate ultrafine particles downwind of the emission site [Weber et al., 1997]. Despite these concerns, there is very little data that show the impact of biomass cogeneration plants on local and regional air quality, including PM2.5 and ultrafine particulate.

Proposed Study

Port Angeles and Port Townsend are ideal locations to conduct a study focusing on the impacts of biomass fueled cogeneration facilities on air quality downwind of the cogeneration plants. Both towns have similar meteorology and environmental conditions. There are no other large industrial sources or major freeways to obscure ultrafine and fine particulate emissions from the biomass cogeneration plants, although emissions from residential burning in the winter constitute a large fraction of the observed PM2.5 in bothcities. Currently the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) maintains a permanent air monitoring site for PM2.5 in both Port Angeles and Port Townsend. Data on background concentrations of PM2.5, SO2, NOx, CO, and ozone are also available from Cheeka Peak, an NCore site located west of Port Angeles on the northwestern tip of the peninsula and measuring some of the cleanest air in the country. In addition to the permanent monitors, ORCAA will also install four optical particle counters (OPC) that provide data on the number concentration of particles larger than 0.3 microns at three locations in Port Angeles and at one location in Sequim. The OPCs will operate between January 2013 and December 2013. These monitors will move to Port Townsend in 2014. In both Port Angeles and Port Townsend, one of the OPCs will be collocated with the permanent air monitor, a nephelometer. ORCAA also has two aethalometers that measure black carbon concentration and can be used to differentiate between wood combustion and diesel combustion. One aethalometer will be installed at the permanent monitoring location and the other will be installed along with an OPC at one of the other temporary sites. The existence of these monitoring locations creates an infrastructure that will facilitate a study of ultrafine particles and source types of air pollution in the region.

In addition to ambient monitoring that already occurs in Clallam and Jefferson Counties the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency, in collaboration with the University of Washington, proposes to conduct an additional study to examine the concentration, sources, and lifetimes of ultrafine particulate in Port Angeles and Port Townsend.

The scientific questions to be addressed are:

1) 2) 3)

4) 5) 6) 7)

Experiment

For this project we will establish two master research sites on the Olympic Peninsula. One will be located near residential areas of Port Townsend and the Port Townsend Paper Corp. The second site will be in Port Angeles near to the Nippon Paper Industries facility. At each site we will ideally conduct a series of pre/post-expansion intensive measurements that can complement the existing measurements using nephelometers, optical particle counters, and aethalometers. The Nippon co-generation plant, located in Port Angeles, expects to begin operating in September or October, 2013 and therefore baseline, winter measurements of ultrafine particles before operations commence may not be possible. To work around this issue, meteorology and plume dispersion modeling will allow data to be segregated to times when emissions from Nippon could affect measurements at the site and those times when they would not.

How will air quality respond to the change in emissions from the facility?

What is the distribution of PM2.5 in residential areas of both communities?

Is there evidence of an increase in ultrafine particulate matter from the expanded facilities?

What is the cause of the odors in the Port Townsend area and what can be done about these?

What are the source contributions to fine and ultrafine particulate in these two areas?

How does this change between winter and summer?

Which neighborhoods are most impacted by these facilities? Are the concentrations

reasonably modeled by a Gaussian plume distribution?

How do ultrafine particulate emissions from the facilities change in the winter relative to the summer?

Measurements of PM2.5, number concentration and size distribution of ultrafine particles (diameter < 100 nanometers), particle chemical speciation, and carbon monoxide will be made at both the Port Angeles and the Port Townsend sites. Continuous stack emission measurements at the facilities will complement the ambient measurements to determine their potential influence on the ambient air quality.

A proposed schedule for this work is as follows:
Summer 2013: 6-week experiment prior to facility modifications and expansion
Winter 2013: 6-week experiment prior to facility modifications and expansion (Port Townsend) Summer 2014: 6-week experiment after facility modifications and expansion
Winter 2014: 6-week experiment after facility modifications and expansion

Instruments and measurements that will be made in addition to those already made by ORCAA:

Instrument

What it measures

Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS), TSI 3936

Ultrafine particle size distribution

Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS)

Aerosol chemical composition

Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometer (CIMS)

Aerosol chemical composition

TECO 48CTL

Carbon Monoxide

Dusttrak DRX 8543

Particulate matter

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