Department of Natural Resources offers draft plans for comment on harvest, seabird – PDN

The state Department of Natural Resources has released draft environmental impact statements on the agency’s 10-year sustainable harvest calculation and its marbled murrelet long-term conservation strategy. Public comment will be taken until 5 p.m. March 9 on both documents, DNR spokesman Bob Redling said. Public meetings and webinars are planned next month. The 160-page sustainable harvest draft environmental impact statement, or EIS, and instructions for submitting public comments are available at http://www.dnr.wa.gov/shc. The 600-page marbled murrelet draft EIS and instructions for submitting public comments are available at www.dnr.wa.gov/mmltcs. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/department-of-natural-resources-offers-draft-plans-for-comment-on-harvest-seabird/

Navy holds Public Meeting for “noisy” Draft EIS. Public holds silent protest

The U.S. Navy began the first of five public meetings at Port Townsend today, in order to roll out their new “draft” Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to expand the use of the Whidbey Island Airbase. The airbase is primarily used for carrier and expeditionary (land based wings) training of cadets. A group of approximately 40 protesters sat in a silent protest during the event. While police looked on, no arrests were made nor was their anything other than a peaceful sit down protest.

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The Navy is no longer asking for any lowering of cadet training, and in fact is looking to expand by 35 or 36 aircraft. Personnel increases range in the proposals from 371 to 664, with an expected expansion of dependents (family) of 509 to 710). They are planning to increase operations/year from 88,000 to 130,000 an increase of 33%. One thing to understand that was explained to me by Ted Brown, the Installations and Public Affairs Officer for the Navy, is that these operations actually need to be divided by 2 to more clearly understand them. A jet taking over and do a touch and go is engaging in a minimum of 2 operations. However, this increase in the levels takes us from a low range where we have been since approx 1996 to a much higher level, more closely aligned to the levels leading up to the first Gulf War (1976-1988).

The more problematic issue of all this is that the Navy will be impacting many more people with noise levels at or above 65dB. To put this in perspective, 65dB is considered “normal” level of talking to someone at 3′. However, we are talking about jet aircraft noise and not human voices. Hearing loss can occur at sustained levels above 85dB. A navy aircraft sound print lasts approx. 30 seconds usually peaking at 93.5 dBs and sustained above 80 for most of that 30 seconds.  In the summer, I routinely am roused out of sleep after 12 midnight by jets taking off and landing 16. 2 nautical miles away from my house. That qualifies for what the navy calls sleep disturbance but it does not track that from my distance, so any of us affected by this are not included in their calculations.

The Navy assumes that in our area of Port Townsend, we can expect noise levels capable of affecting speech comprehension inside an additional 4 times an hour. Outdoor events would increase up to an additional 3 events per hour. 

Events  that the Navy expects to be so loud as to disturb indoor classroom activity is expect to increase by 2 events per hour. 

Sleep disturbance events between 10PM and 7AM are expected to increase up to 48% in some locations.

It is also worth noting that the Navy primarily flies these during times when the aircraft carriers are in port. They have a window of opportunity and the pilots also need to achieve night flight status. This means that with darkness falling later and later, they end up spilling into the later evening. So expect more noise late in the summer, and with more planes, it will only get worse.

There is a hope on the horizon, much longer out, in that the touch and goes are now in the early phases of having a onboard computer fly the plane with greatly increased safety, and less wear and tear on the plane and flight deck. At some point, we may see a dramatic decrease in touch and goes, as computers take over that function, decreasing training on it. Newer F-35s have the ability installed but older ones do not. The software is not yet operational though, being in testing now.

What can be done about the intrusion into our peaceful surroundings? There is a no action alternativethat the Navy isn’t seriously considering, but should be proposed in writing by anyone concerned about this growth. However, don’t expect the Navy to choose this. If you are planning to contact any of our Congressmen or Senators, you might as well push for it. That’s the only way you will protect yourself and your family from increased unmuffled jet noise.

 

 

 

 

US Forest Service finds “No Significance” in the Navy expanding war games next to Olympic National Park

In an expected ruling, the Forest Service rubber stamped the Navy’s plans to expand their war games using electronic warfare using high speed unmuffled jets right next to one of the quietest places on earth, the Hoh Rain Forest. In a ruling that can only be called cynical political point-making with the incoming Trump Administration, Dean Millet, the District Ranger in charge of the ruling, ignored tens of thousands of signatures on petitions and thousands of letters of concern, many of them from scientists, political figures and people with a stake in the economy of the Peninsula. He claims to have, “carefully considered public input” in making the decision, but that he found nothing at all to criticize in the Navy’s plans, means that he really didn’t try.

Now, we turn to the courts, and to the elected officials, like Derek Kilmer, who has done very little to stop this, somewhat understandably given the population of military retirees and Bremerton Navy jobs at stake in Kitsap County.

We hope that Representative Kilmer brings his earplugs with him when he and his family go hiking in the Olympic National Park next year, he’ll likely need them. Jets which are supposed to be flying at over 6000ft have been seen and recorded on numerous occasions  by many different eyewitnesses flying at less than 1000, despite the assurances of the Navy. In a video shot at a public hearing out on the coast a couple of years ago the head trainer from Whidbey admitted as much, saying that he had to discipline his cadets  sometimes for flying too low. But other than this one man, there is no real oversight to keep them above 6000′. We don’t have public records to look at even on something as non-essential to security as this.

Is that what a National Park is supposed to represent? Do we want to turn all our places of solitude from the stresses of our industrialized world into low level fly over training sites by unmuffled jets?  What exactly is something that the Forest Service considers a “significant finding?”  I just have no idea of what Ranger Millet’s threshold is. Should we take recordings of jets and go to his house, Representative Kilmer’s house, Senator Murray and Cantwell’s house at night and play them at full volume? Would that help understand the ask? And at what point do we have “enough” training spots in the US that we don’t need more? And who ultimately should decide that? Us, the military or a combination of the taxpayers and those in our employ. Why did the 1988 MOU between the Department of the Military and the FS not come into play?  That document seems pretty clear. Very short and to the point. Less than one page of law.

These are just questions that we would love answers from the people in power, some of whom we elected as recently as this November. It seems clear from this ruling that the Forest Service is not acting in our best interests. Since the Spanish American war we have set about turning the Puget Sound and Strait into a militarized zone. And now we seem to be at a point where our military does what it wants, regardless of what us, the taxpayers, want of it. This is truly the tail wagging the dog.

Also from Ashley Ahearn

Navy Granted Permits For More Growler Jet Training On Olympic Peninsulahttp://kuow.org/post/navy-granted-permits-more-growler-jet-training-olympic-peninsula
The Navy has just been granted permits by the U.S. Forest Service to expand electromagnetic warfare training over Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Now the Navy is cleared to drive trucks out into the Olympic National Forest, armed with electromagnetic signaling technology. Then growler jets will take off from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and fly overhead, searching for the signal trucks from the air. It’s essentially a military training game of hide-and-go-seek. The trucks simulate cell towers and other communications behind enemy lines that the Navy wants to scramble. Ashley Ahearn reports. (KUOW)

Study: Most clammers stick to single beach – Kitsap Sun

While this isn’t really a surprise to many of us, it is interesting to finally see the data collected on clamming and the people that clam.

Close down a clammer’s favorite beach, you’re likely closing down the clammer. A new study looking at the behavior of Puget Sound’s recreational shellfish harvesters indicates that the increasingly frequent pollution and marine biotoxin closures are having a bigger impact on clammers than previously thought. About two-thirds of the sound’s shellfish harvesters say they gather all their clams and oysters from a single beach, according to surveys administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. If a “Toxic Shellfish” sign pops up at a favorite spot, most harvesters simply quit. They don’t seek out alternatives. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

 

http://www.kitsapsun.com/outdoors/study-most-clammers-stick-to-single-beach-4274d6e3-1785-2cad-e053-0100007f5792-403682996.html

Quiet: A Soldier’s Fight for the Most Silent Place in America – SeattleMet

Very interesting story on a retreat for veterans using what was thought to be a quiet, remote forest that now is threatened with greatly increased fighter jet noise.

The military’s plan to send newer, more disruptive jet planes over the Hoh and Quinault rain forest region has unraveled not only townspeople throughout the Olympic Peninsula, but the veterans who thought they’d found a refuge.

http://www.seattlemet.com/

Whidbey Restoration Project Makes a Difference, For Shore -Ear to Ground/WDNR

More good work restoring shoreline habitat. One of the primary benefits of this is to remove creosote chemicals from entering the nearshore habitat, where sand lance and herring live and reproduce. These  two species are critical to the the food chain of the Salish Sea.

Salmon, crabs, clams and shorebirds got a happier home recently as DNR’s Aquatic Restoration crews freed up beachhead on southeast shore of Whidbey Island. Partnering with the Whidbey Camano Land Trust, the restoration program removed 440 feet of creosote-treated bulkhead from the Glendale Beach and Waterman Shoreline Preserve north of Clinton. Removal of the bulkhead allows the beach to again move in the free, dynamic way it naturally does. (Ear to the Ground/WDNR)

https://washingtondnr.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/whidbey-restoration-project-makes-a-difference-for-shore/

Oyster-caused illnesses on Vancouver Island linked to same supplier- CBC

In case you happened to be in Tofino in November.

Island Health says norovirus is likely to blame after more than 100 people who ate raw oysters in Tofino earlier this month fell ill. Roughly 120 people, many of whom had attended the Clayoquot Oyster Festival, suffered gastro-intestinal symptoms last week. But Island Health says people got sick at more than one location, and that people reported being ill over the course of several days. They say it appears everyone who became ill consumed raw oysters from the same supplier, who is not being named. (CBC)

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/british-columbia/oyster-vancouver-island-sick-norovirus-1.3875806

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