Wild Fish Conservancy submits lease proposal to take back public waters from the commercial open water net pen industry

Just when I thought that our environmental coalition was bankrupt of ideas and people willing to really fight for the environment, along comes this. The future of environmentalism. Let’s just buy out the economic exploiters destroying these sites. Get behind this. Tell Hilary Franz you want this done. She’s up for re-election and wants your donations. You have the power in you pocket. You will have plenty of wealthy businesses fighting this.


July 15, 2020: After the catastrophic collapse of Cooke Aquaculture’s Cypress Island open water net pen in 2017, the public came together to pass Washington’s landmark law banning nonnative Atlantic salmon net pen aquaculture in Puget Sound after the expiration of Cooke’s existing leases. Taking advantage of a loophole in the law, the company submitted a new proposal in fall 2019 to transition their facilities to native species in order to avoid the phase out of their Puget Sound net pens and to qualify for new leases for all sites.

The continued use of public waters for commercial net pen aquaculture directly undermines the will of the public who have fought tirelessly to protect Puget Sound from this industry and invested significantly in the recovery of wild salmon, steelhead, orcas, and the health of Puget Sound.” says Kurt Beardslee, executive director of the Wild Fish Conservancy. “The expiration of these leases comes less than once in a decade and offers the public a rare opportunity to work together to take back our sound and restore these waters after thirty years of rampant pollution and industrial use.”

In accordance with existing public-use regulations and in concert with obligations to fulfill tribal treaty rights, the campaign’s alternative, the Taking Back Our Sound Restoration Project, seeks to hold these lands in trust for the sole purposes of restoring these industrialized aquatic lands to their natural state for the restoration and conservation of threatened and endangered species, water quality, and the overall health and function of Puget Sound’s ecosystem; and restoring full access to 130 acres of aquatic lands to the public for their benefit, use and enjoyment.

Washington’s laws direct DNR to protect state-owned aquatic lands as a public trust and to strive for uses that ensure environmental protection, encourage direct use, and provide a balance of benefits for all citizens. As Cooke reapplies for each of its expiring or recently terminated leases, DNR will need to compare both applications and proposed uses against the state’s goals and philosophy for managing public lands, creating an unusual competition and leaving DNR with a precedent-setting choice to make—continue to lease these waters for the restoration of Puget Sound and use by all, or the degradation of public waters and profit of a few.

“To date, Commissioner Franz has shown exceptional leadership when it comes to holding Cooke Aquaculture accountable for our environmental laws and protecting Puget Sound from this industry” said Beardslee. “By choosing the Taking Back Our Sound proposal, Commissioner Franz will guarantee the public that these lands, currently degraded and restricted for private profit, will be restored and managed for the public’s benefit and use by all citizens.”

Throughout the coming months, the newly launched Taking Back Our Sound campaign will offer the public opportunities to make their voices heard on this important issue and to call on Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and DNR to make the Sound choice for Puget Sound and current and future generations.

Taking Back Our Sound is a new Our Sound, Our Salmon campaign to engage the public in a social movement to take back our waters from the commercial open water net pen industry to protect Puget Sound and restore the ecosystem for the use and benefit of all. Our Sound, Our Salmon is facilitated by Wild Fish Conservancy.

Wild Fish Conservancy is a nonprofit conservation ecology organization dedicated to preserving, protecting, and restoring the northwest’s wild fish and the ecosystems they depend on, through science, education, and advocacy.

###

For More Information visit: oursound-oursalmon.org/taking-back-our-sound

PDF of cover letter to Commissioner Franz.
PDF of this press release.

Contact:
Kurt Beardslee, Executive Director, Wild Fish Conservancy (206) 310-9301 kurt@wildfishconservancy.org
Emma Helverson, Director of Campaigns, WFC emma@wildfishconservancy.org

Meet and Greet Sierra Club’s Endorsed Candidate for County Commissioner, Lorna Smith, July 14, 5PM

Sierra Club holds virtual meet and greet for Lorna Smith.

 

Lorna Smith has been an environmental activist since the late 1970s, and worked with prominent conservationists to establish a National Wildlife Refuge on Protection Island. She has made climate change one of her top priorities. She is a strong supporter of the County’s Comprehensive Plan and adopting a stronger Shoreline Management Program. She opposes plans to transport Canadian tar sands oil through our waters that will increase tanker traffic ten-fold and greatly increase the risk of oil spills. In her role as a planning commissioner, she has always put environmental considerations first and has opposed ill-conceived projects that negatively impacted communities and the environment. She has extensive experience building coalitions and seeking collaboration based on a lifetime of experience in government, NGO’s, and community groups, and through her extensive research on particular projects she has been able to convince decision makers to support her positions.  We believe this background and experience lends itself particularly well to this uniquely challenging period as we face the twin tasks of addressing disruptions caused by both the pandemic and climate change.

Meet Lorna on Zoom, Tuesday July 14 at 5PM

 

Join Zoom Meeting Link:

 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81131568159

 

Meeting ID: 811 3156 8159

One tap mobile

+12532158782,,81131568159# US (Tacoma)

+16699006833,,81131568159# US (San Jose)

Getting dinner

Baila Dworsky caught this unusual duo last month.

Bailas Bird shot

The Elwha returns. Summer Steelhead survey on the river.

What Dam Removals Can Do for a River

Trout Unlimited produced a short video that shows the remarkable return of steelhead on the Elwha. Don’t miss this. Brought to you by Outside Magazine.

Rising from the Ashes, from Trout Unlimited, follows the scientists studying the summer steelhead resurgence in Washington’s Elwha River. Since the removal of the Elwha Dam in 2011 and the Glines Canyon Dam in 2014, these fish are now free to run from the Pacific Ocean up into the Olympic Peninsula.

https://www.outsideonline.com/2413366/steelhead-fish-return-elwha-river-washington-dam-removal?ct=t%28RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN%29#close

 

Jeff Co wins $1.2M for wetland restoration – PT Leader

A little belated good news for the county, Tarboo Creek and Discovery Bay.

The state Department of Ecology announced April 13 it secured seven National Coastal Wetlands Conservation grants worth $5 million to help local partners restore coastal wetlands and 17,500 feet of marine shoreline in Jefferson, Kistap, Snohomish, Thurston and Whatcom counties.

https://www.ptleader.com/stories/community-partnerships-protect-forestland,69025

EPA Releases plan to keep water in Columbia & Snake rivers cool enough for salmon (KNKX)

Good news. Wonder why they changed their minds?

Salmon need cold water to survive. Dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers are making the water too hot, in some places by as much as 5 degrees. Now, after a drawn-out lawsuit and direction from the state of Washington, the federal Environmental Protection Agency has released plan to change that.   Last week, the state Department of Ecology used its authority under the Clean Water Act to require the federal operators of eight dams on the lower Columbia and Snake rivers to keep the water at 68 degrees or lower. Right now, it’s routinely hitting 72 or 73 degrees in parts of the system, says Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper, which sued to get the plan. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

EPA releases plan to keep water in Columbia, Snake rivers cool enough for salmon

Comments needed on Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

A corporation intends to industrialize 34-acres* of the publicly-owned Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge with 80,000 plastic bags of oysters.  The U.S. Corps of Engineers and the Washington State Department of Ecology are interested in your comments.

Submit comments by MAY 30, 2020.

The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge in Washington State’s Salish Sea is one of the most pristine national refuges. This Refuge was dedicated in 1915 for its abundance of eelgrass which sustains migrating and resident birds, their feeder fish and salmon.  The site hosts more than 250 species of birds, some of which nest and raise their young here. The 5.5 mile spit is one of the longest in the world and is a major U.S. attraction.           

For background information visit:  http://www.protectpeninsulasfuture.org/dungeness-refuge-alert/

Comments are needed on any of the operation’s potential impacts:  Conservation, eelgrass, water quality, local and refuge economics, aesthetics, plastics, bird and fish feed, benthic life, shore erosion, cumulative impacts, and/or recreation, with as much back-up data as possible.

Click here to open Joint Public Notice

Where to submit your comments

Send your U.S. Army Corps of Engineers comments to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Branch, Attention: Pamela Sanguinetti,

P.O. Box 3755, Seattle, Washington 98124-3755; email pamela.sanguinetti@usace.army.mil    Reference Case #: 2007-1213

Send your Washington State Department of Ecology comments to:

Washington State Department of Ecology,  Attention: Federal Permit Coordinator,

P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, Washington 98504-7600; email ecyrefedpermits@ecy.wa.gov

For more details on how to comment, visit:

http://www.protectpeninsulasfuture.org/how-to-comment/

*NOTE:

Due to the Applicant requesting a “phased “approach, the initial proposed work of ‘on-bottom bag culture” = 5 acres of 20,000 bags.  When the oysters grow to a certain size, they would be removed from the bags and spread on 29 acres of refuge beach shoreline to grow to commercial size and be harvested. Total allowable coverage is still 34 acres. The Applicant’s full plan is to cover 20 acres with 80,000 plastic bags of oysters.

This press release came from Protect the Peninsula’s Future

http://www.protectpeninsulasfuture.org/

 

Nine U.S. states sue EPA for easing environmental enforcement amid pandemic

Fighting the incredibly destructive administration that continues it’s gutting of our environmental protections under cover of Covid.

Nine states on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for relaxing a range of companies’ compliance and monitoring requirements with federal clean air and water laws in response to the coronavirus pandemic, arguing the policy is too broad and not transparent. Under the temporary policy announced on March 26, the EPA said it would not seek penalties for violations of routine compliance monitoring, integrity testing, sampling, laboratory analysis, training, and reporting or certification obligations in situations where the EPA agrees that COVID-19 was the cause…The coalition of the nine states – New York, California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont and Virginia – argue that the EPA lacks legal authority to waive “critical monitoring and reporting obligations that inform regulators and the general public of pollution hazards” and failed to weigh the impacts the relaxation policy will have on public health amid the coronavirus pandemic. Their lawsuit comes a month after more than a dozen environmental groups led by the Natural Resources Defense Council, whose president is former Obama EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy filed their own challenge in the same New York federal court. (Reuters)

<https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-epa/nine-u-s-states-sue-epa-for-easing-environmental-enforcement-amid-pandemic-idUSKBN22P36U>

Trump Executive Order Opens the Door for Massive Industrial Fish Farms in Oceans – Modern Farmer

More outrageous anti-environmental rulings. Follow the money. Who’s behind this? Well given the political donations that have been talked about for the last few years, it wouldn’t take an intrepid student reporter long to find out. Anyone up for the task? Send me your findings and we’ll publish them.

Last week, the Trump administration announced an executive order opening the door for large-scale fish farming. That order, as reported by the Food and Environment Reporting Network (FERN), is designed at its core to expand the scope and facilities for aquaculture. What that likely means is a reduction in regulations, and the creation of large offshore fish farms. Dan Nosowitz reports. (Modern Farmer)

<http://modernfarmer.com/2020/05/trump-executive-order-opens-the-door-for-massive-industrial-fish-farms-in-oceans/>

This year’s herring spawn events in Puget Sound were the largest in decades -PSP

More good news.

Throughout the Sound in March and April, Pacific herring were spawning in large numbers. In Quilcene Bay and Dabob Bay, in Port Orchard and Port Madison, in Henderson Bay, and near West Seattle, and possibly in Discovery Bay, Holmes Harbor, and elsewhere. There’s uncertainty about the precise extent and the size of the spawning due to stay-at-home restrictions limiting observation and measurement, but it’s clear that this has been a big year for herring. Kevin Hyde writes. (Puget Sound Partnership)

<https://medium.com/puget-sound-partnership/this-years-herring-spawn-events-in-puget-sound-were-the-largest-in-decades-855dce58df6f>

EVENT: Board of health meeting broadcast on KPTZ 5/14 @ 2:30

KPTZ will live broadcast Thursday afternoon’s special meeting of the Jefferson County Board of Health. The meeting is to review Dr. Tom Locke’s recommendations regarding a Variance for Governor Inslee’s Phase 2 criteria to reopen manufacturing, new construction, domestic services and office-based businesses. 

He also recommends overnight camping, sit down restaurants, and services relating to tourism remain closed. 

This joint meeting starts at 2:30 pm Thursday, May 14th. There will be additional County meetings next week, all in preparation for our Commissioners to vote on these recommendations, at their May 22nd meeting. 

Listen at 91.9FM or audio streamed live, at KPTZ (dot) org.

Washington wolf population increased only 11% after another season of killing Phys.org

The state continues to kill wolves to please one, yes, just one, rancher who refuses to follow best practice guidelines. bringing on wolf attacks on his herd. It is a travesty. Inslee ought to be ashamed. Again, we watch as politics dictates environmental degradation. There have been no confirmed wolf sitings on the Olympic Peninsula, though they are expected at some point.

“Washington’s wolf population increased by just 11% in 2019, according to figures released today by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. – Dramatically less than what is needed to sustain the healthy growth of a wolf population into additional good wolf habitat across the state. “

The Profoundly Radical Message of Earth Day’s First Organizer – NY Times

We are fortunate to have Denis in Seattle. His message now?

“Covid-19 robbed us of Earth Day this year. So let’s make Election Day Earth Day.” He urged his readers to get involved in politics and set aside national division. “This November 3,” he wrote, “vote for the Earth.”

Denis Hayes, Earth Day, climate change, renewable energy and the challenges ahead. John Schwartz reports. (NY Times)

The ‘Profoundly Radical’ Message of Earth Day’s First Organizer 

An Important Time to Listen – The Narwhal

Interesting perspective on the ability to suddenly measure ocean noise without human activity.

The pandemic offers a temporary reprieve from the clamour of ocean noise — which can affect how whales and other species communicate, navigate and feed — and an opportunity to reflect on the consequences of human activity for marine life. Jimmy Thomson reports. (The Narwhal)

‘An important time to listen’: ocean scientists race to hear the effects of coronavirus under water 

Inslee signs bill to strengthen derelict vessel prevention program -San Juan Islander

Good news! A new round of funding to help our counties deal with the issue of derelict vessels.

The state Department of Natural Resources will receive additional funding to address derelict vessels under a measure signed by Gov. Jay Inslee this week. Senate Bill 6528, sponsored by Sen. Liz Lovelett (D-Anacortes), will strengthen the program addressing the problem of sunken or neglected boats in Washington’s waters. (San Juan Islander)

Inslee signs bill to strengthen derelict vessel prevention program

Salish Sea basin was one of continent’s most densely populated areas when Europeans arrived – The Province

The book 1491 also had this kind of hypothesis. Now we are finding it likely was true. More to come I’m sure. And we never can really know what was lost.The histories, the natural cures for diseases that they knew of, and so much more. The European invasion was perhaps the most destructive thing ever done to the planet. The great rush to explore the planet to exploit it’s natural resources is now in it’s end game, unless something very radical changes to save it.

Vancouver has the highest population density among Canadian municipalities, according to the 2016 census, and New Westminster, the City of North Vancouver, Victoria and White Rock all make the top 10. It was like that, too, before the first Europeans arrived in the 1700s, according to a study published in the Journal of Northwest Anthropology that was co-written by Richard M. Hutchings of the Institute for Critical Heritage and Tourism. The Salish Sea Basin was one of the “most densely populated” pre-contact geographical areas, Hutchings said from his home on Gabriola Island, which is home to 98 of the pre-contact sites the study counted. Immediately after contact, indigenous populations began crashing, he said. The arrival of diseases such as measles and smallpox carried by Europeans was primarily responsible. Gordon McIntyre reports. (The Province)

Salish Sea basin was one of continent’s most densely populated areas when Europeans arrived

Earth Day events go online because of virus – Puget Sound Institute

Yes, even Earth Day is now digital.

Canceled! Canceled! Canceled! Participants in this year’s Earth Day activities won’t be rallying in large groups, participating in environmental festivals or coming together to clean up the Earth. On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day — Wednesday of next week — the environmental movement will be uniquely digital, with many people celebrating from their home computers. Chris Dunagan reports. (Puget Sound Institute)

Earth Day events go online because of virus

Canadian Border Restrictions Have Been Exended Another 30 Days

FYI for readers.

The United States and Canada have agreed to keep their shared border closed for nonessential travel for another 30 days to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the extension during a briefing Saturday in Ottawa. The restrictions on the world’s longest frontier took effect on March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. The partial ban was to expire soon, but the neighboring countries have decided it is not safe to allow traffic to fully resume. (NPR)

Canadian Border Restrictions Have Been Extended For Another 30 Days

Cooke Aquaculture applies to modify water quality permits for steelhead farming in Puget Sound – DOE

Whatever could go wrong….At least it’s not non-native fish.

Cooke Aquaculture applies to modify water quality permits for steelhead farming in Puget Sound

Ecology is accepting comments on applications

Cooke Aquaculture has submitted applications to the Washington Department of Ecology requesting to modify its existing water quality permits for four Puget Sound net pens. The company wants to raise all-female, sterile rainbow trout, also known as steelhead, which are native to Washington instead of non-native Atlantic salmon.

In order to change the type of species, the company must go through a multi-agency, multi-step permitting process. Ecology is accepting feedback on the applications and supporting documents for the modification request. All documents can be viewed at ecology.wa.gov/NetPenPermit, and comments can be submitted online through May 22, 2020.

Contact –  Keeley Belva, Communications, 360-480-5722 @ecologyWA

Read more

 

Earth Day in Clallam County

Clallam TogetherIn Clallam County, Earth Day is coming to a home, neighborhood, and screen near you.

April 22 will mark the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, and as it approaches, a coalition of community activists, neighborhoods, organizations and businesses in Clallam County are joining as #ClallamTogether to observe “Earth Week” – Monday, April 20 to Sunday, April 26 – in creative ways adapted to the unusual circumstances in which we find ourselves.

The central bulletin board for these activities will be Olympic Climate Action’s website, olyclimate.org, where updates will be continuously posted.

The urgent, evolving challenges of the coronavirus pandemic call on people everywhere to respond to one another and to our shifting circumstances with courage, resolution, ingenuity and open hearts. And though our ways of connecting with one another have shifted, Earth itself remains our constant home, and we are reminded more than ever that we are and will always be intimately connected with it.

Instead of the variety of community events originally planned for Earth Week, we offer a suite of activities people can safely do from home or outdoors on their own or with their family unit, such as:

  • “Challenge of 50s”:  Individuals, groups or families choose an “Act of 50” that supports the healing of our Earth.

 

  • “Life Hacks”:  Submit and view short videos demonstrating simple earth-stewarding actions.

 

  • “Earth-Care Art”: Submit earth-related art to our virtual gallery or participate in a virtual group banner.

 

  • Clallam Tree Alliance offers free shrubs and trees for delivery or pickup, and neighborhood plant/seed sharing is planned.

 

People are also encouraged to create their own activities and promote them to olyclimate@olyclimate.org, to be posted on OCA’s website.

A few events are planned, including:

**April 19:  Ms. Earth Week 2020:  Nominate your earth hero; the winner will receive a SisterLand Farms gift box

**April 22:  Flower bouquets delivered to your earth heroes by volunteers on bicycles (in the Port Angeles area)

**April 22:  Earth Evening bell-ringing, 7 pm.

**April 23:  Webinar on the Border Wall and its violations of environmental laws and human rights, 7 pm

**TBA:  Presentation on connections between the coronavirus and climate change.

 

In Jefferson County, the Local 2020 organization has postponed most of their planned Earth Week efforts, except for an Earth Day beach cleanup; to check on Jefferson County plans, see https://l2020.org/earth2020/.

 

The #ClallamTogether organizing committee includes:

Hilary Powers, Compassion Clallam County

Marilyn O’Neill-Eash, Interfaith Community of Clallam County

Arleen Jenson, SisterLand Farms

Elizabeth Christian, Interfaith Earthcare Coalition

Christeal Milburn, Clallam Tree Alliance

Michael Clemens, Jodi Riverstone, Julia Smith, & Ed Chadd, Olympic Climate Action

Olympic Climate Action

North Olympic Peninsula residents working to stem climate disruption

Washington State, U.S.A.

Territories of the chalá·at (Hoh), kʷoʔlí·yot’ (Quileute), qʷidiččaʔa·tx̌ (Makah), nəxʷsƛ̕áy̕əm̕  (Klallam), & t͡ʃə́mqəm (Chimacum) peoples

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