REPAIRS OF BULKHEADS, DOCKS AND OTHER STRUCTURES NOW INVOLVE HABITAT ASSESSMENT – PSI

This is a huge change to the proposal, hopefully for the good. However, in reading this article I find that it may cause more problems than it solves. While I applaud the idea, the implementation seems problematic. I urge those of you interested in seeing this implemented or those seeing issues with the implementation to attend this meeting. Now is the time to tweak the process so that it helps people do the right thing.

NOAA Fisheries will hold online public workshops on Jan. 26 and Jan. 28 to explain the conservation calculator that the agency developed to assess the value of nearshore habitat. Both workshops will run from 9 to 11 a.m. Details will be posted on the webpage Puget Sound Nearshore Habitat Conservation Calculator.

Cooke’s Washington steelhead switch approved – The Fish Site

As long time readers of this blog will note, I am highly critical of the state granting permission to this company, which did such a horrible job of managing it’s facilities in the past. They showed by their previous actions to be incapable of being trusted in their maintenance and operational quality. The State also has fault, in that the legislature allowed, in years gone by, to have the over-site of the pens split between two different state agencies. The hope is that the over-site has been significantly strengthened, and that given the fiasco they brought to themselves that they have learned something. The article sited here only mentions that they passed the State’s scientific muster. No mention of tighter rules and regs on the farms.

They have also been working with some tribes locally in a type of partnership, which was to be expected as the tribes supported shutting down the raising of Atlantic salmon but did not want to back removing the pens. I predicted then that the tribes would be looking to get into the net pen business as Cooke was evicted, and here we are. The “science” that found that there is no ‘harm’ to the environment likely downplayed the destruction to the benthic layer under the farms, which is total and for all practical purposes, permanent, as long as the farm is there. We’ve seen NOAA downplay this risk, in order to promote aquaculture.

Cooke Aquaculture has been granted permission to start growing steelhead at four of its former salmon sites in Washington State.

https://thefishsite.com/articles/cookes-washington-steelhead-switch-approved

Puget Sound Partnership Legislative Agenda

A good way to follow and perhaps participate in the upcoming legislative session.

  leg-update

January 4, 2021
Greetings, friends of Puget Sound!   The 2021 State Legislative session will begin January 11, 2021 and run 105 consecutive days. This email contains helpful resources to navigate this unique session and opportunities to engage with the Partnership during session.    
A COVID-19 Session Here are a few helpful resources prepared by the legislature to help you navigate this unique session due to COVID-19 restrictions. Click here to download a fact sheet that describes remote access for this session. Click here to download the House COVID-19 Sessions Operation Plan. Click here for the Senate session guidelines. As always, the legislature’s website is rich with additional information to help you navigate session.    
Opportunities to engage with the Partnership During the 2021 Legislative Session, the Partnership will offer multiple opportunities to help you (and us!) stay informed about legislative activities that affect Puget Sound protection and recovery efforts.
Legislative Updates. Sent via email and posted to our website periodically during session, the Update summarizes the priority topics we’re following.
Legislative Calendar. Sent via email and posted to our website every Thursday, the Calendar lists upcoming committee meetings involving legislation and information about issues that affect Puget Sound protection and recovery. Calendars will include public hearings where testimony may be offered. Legislative Information Call-In. Jeff Parsons, our Legislative Policy Director, will conduct a call-in meeting on Fridays, from 11:30 a.m. to no later than 12:30 p.m., to review the most important legislative issues we’re following, answer questions, and discuss partner perspectives. The first call will take place this Friday, January 8, 2021. Attendees will receive an agenda each week in advance of the call, usually on Friday mornings. If you are receiving this email, you are already signed up to receive updates by email on one or more of the above topics. If you would like to verify/update your subscriptions (each of the above opportunities has a separate subscription), please click here and follow the prompts. To participate and receive agendas for the weekly calls, please send an email to Don Gourlie at don.gourlie@psp.wa.gov. (If you signed up for this last year, you are already on the list and will receive the call-in instructions and agenda before our first call). If you have questions or concerns about the legislative priorities for the Puget Sound Partnership, please contact: Jeff Parsons, Legislative Policy Director, 360.999.3803. jeff.parsons@psp.wa.gov

Thank you for your contributions to help recover and protect Puget Sound. Connect with the Puget Sound Partnership for breaking news and other events affecting Puget Sound on Twitter and Facebook.  

Puget Sound Partnership Legislative Agenda The Partnership’s Legislative Agenda supports implementation of the 2018-2022 Action Agenda for Puget Sound and reflects priorities that were established in collaboration with our partners, as well as aligning with the Governor’s operating and capital budget requests and the findings and recommendations of the Southern Resident Orca Task Force.      

Quinault Tribe recall 29 tons of Dungeness crab – AP

If you bought crab between Dec. 23-28th, you must read this. I would suggest not eating it.


Nearly 29 tons of Dungeness crab is being voluntarily recalled by the Quinault Tribe. The recall affects live and uneviscerated Dungeness crab.  The crabs are being recalled due to possible elevated marine toxin levels. The toxin is called domoic acid, which can be harmful to people if the contaminated shellfish are consumed. The crab was caught by the tribe from Dec. 23-28 and sold to food processors in Washington. (Associated Press)

Quinault Tribe recall 29 tons of Dungeness crab due to toxin

Hotly debated national permit for shellfish farms could be passed to Biden Administration – Puget Sound Institute

This is an important article to help one understand the forces at play over this issue. The Army Corp of Engineers current proposal, described in this article, would lead to more destruction of the remaining virgin bays it wants for commercial activities and likely lead to ever more lawsuits. The Corps and the industry are in this mess because a group challenged the Corps and unearthed the fraud behind the science they have been putting out for decades. Now we hold our breath and see if we get a push into the next administration for update to the process, but will they send it back for changes or approve it to get the industry back working?

But as they leave, the wrecking crew of the Trump administration is doing it’s best to destroy any and all environmental protections.

Legal protections for marine shorelines, streams and wetlands could be revised just before President Trump leaves office, as the Army Corps of Engineers updates 52 “nationwide permits” that allow for a variety of water-related projects. …”Another growing concern is the effect of shellfish operations on spawning habitat for so-called forage fish, considered critical to salmon and other important species”, said Laura Hendricks, executive director of the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat. Two key species, surf smelt and sand lance, spawn in the intertidal area where shellfish grow and where activities can affect their populations, she said.

Hotly debated national permit for shellfish farms could be passed to Biden administration | Puget Sound Institute

Huge Herring Balls in San Juans

Friends of the San Juans have been keeping an eye on the waters of the islands and recently got to witness a herring event! These balls attract a huge number of predators and are a basis of much of the food for whales, birds and other fish. They have given me the ability to publish a few of their shots. With thanks to Jess Newley from Friends of the San Juans for the use of the photos! Might be a good idea to include them in your end of year giving if you can! Also thanks to Anne Schaffer of the Coastal Watershed Institute.

(an earlier version of this post incorrectly identified this as a spawning event.)

Humpback and flocks of gulls and marine diving birds (the most murrelets we’ve seen in over a decade) are just a few surface ‘tells’ of the seasonal migration underway.

Lawsuit launched over stalled habitat protection for endangered west coast orcas

It’s about time, the Trump administration has been stalling long enough.


The Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice of intent to sue the federal government today [12/16] for its failure to finalize expanded habitat protections for critically endangered Southern Resident killer whales, whose population has dipped to just 74 orcas. The National Marine Fisheries Service proposed designating 15,627 square miles of new critical habitat in September 2019. The rule would expand current protections in Washington’s Salish Sea south along the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California to Point Sur. The proposed rule followed an April 2019 court-ordered agreement after the Center sued the Trump administration in 2018 for failing to issue habitat protections required by the Endangered Species Act. The Act requires agencies to finalize proposed rules within one year. Today’s notice letter gives the Fisheries Service 60 days to comply. (Center for Biological Diversity News Release)

Lawsuit Launched Over Stalled Habitat Protection for Endangered West Coast Orcas

Inslee proposes his latest climate-change budget. Seattle Times

Gov. Jay Inslee Tuesday unveiled a new climate-change package that includes a renewed push for a clean fuels standard and capping some greenhouse-gas emissions. Other proposals would further electrify Washington’s ferry fleet and reduce the carbon footprint of buildings, according to Inslee, and bring equity into environmental policy.Inslee’s plan comes as part of his new two-year budget proposal, and as lawmakers prepare to convene in January for the 2021 legislative session. Joseph O’Sullivan reports. (Seattle Times)

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/inslee-proposes-his-latest-climate-change-package-as-part-of-washington-budget-proposal/

Victoria and surrounding municipalities are no longer dumping untreated sewage into the ocean. Vancouver Sun

It’s about time…

Horgan replied that it took “an awful lot of people over an awful lot of decades, but we finally did the right thing.”

https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/i-was-wondering-why-the-water-looked-so-clean-victorias-sewage-treatment-plant-up-and-running

Puget Sound Partnership Leadership Council to discuss strategies for efficient restoration permitting

Puget Sound Canoe banner

MEDIA ADVISORY
December 14, 2020 MEDIA CONTACT: Kevin Hyde, 360.819.3045, kevin.hyde@psp.wa.gov  

The Puget Sound Partnership Leadership Council will meet on Thursday, December 17, from 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the December 17 Leadership Council meeting will be a virtual Zoom meeting for all participants and the public.  Join the meeting at https://zoom.us/j/93634358356?pwd=QmdOcDd4Snh3eUoxQVgrOTA2U2pqdz09 Meeting ID: 936 3435 8356, Password: 772966. Dial from any phone: 1-253-215-8782
Full Zoom instructions are included in the meeting agenda, which is available here: https://psp.wa.gov/board_meetings.php

Meeting highlights include: A presentation and decision about the Science Work Plan for 2020-2024. The presentation will include background and an overview of the plan. Presentation by Scott Redman, Science and Evaluation program director at the Puget Sound Partnership, and Katherine Wyatt, assistant science director at the Puget Sound Partnership.   A presentation for discussion about strategies for efficient restoration permitting. This session will include a discussion about opportunities to streamline federal permitting on habitat restoration projects and about connections to streamlining efforts at the state level. This session will be led by Jay Manning, chair of the Leadership Council, with Steve Manlow, executive director, Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board, and Col. Xander Bullock, Seattle district commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  A presentation about the Puget Sound Partnership Nearshore Credits program. The program streamlines the permitting process for building residential or commercial in- and over-water structures and protects habitat for Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed species within the nearshore ecosystem. Presentation by Larry Epstein, deputy director of the Puget Sound Partnership, and Ahren Stroming, special projects assistant at the Puget Sound Partnership.  A presentation on King County’s Clean Water, Healthy Habitat initiative. This session will include an introduction and overview of the Clean Water, Healthy Habitat initiative, and discussion about its connection to the Puget Sound Partnership’s accountability work and opportunities for collaboration. Presentation by Dow Constantine, King County executive, and Abby Hook, environmental affairs officer, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks.  A presentation and discussion about conservation futures programs. This session will include a forum on a collaborative effort, led by the Salmon Recovery Council and its Funding Subcommittee, to identify potential enhancements to county-level Conservation Futures Tax (CFT) levy programs. Presentation by Larry Epstein, deputy director of the Puget Sound Partnership, and Jason Mulvihill-Kuntz, salmon recovery manager for Lake Washington/Cedar/Sammamish watershed.  A discussion about 2021 legislative priorities. The session will include context for the 2021 legislative session, an update about Project Olga, and discussion of proposed 2021 legislative priorities. The session will be led by Jay Manning, chair of the Leadership Council, Jeff Parsons, legislative policy director at the Puget Sound Partnership, and Ahren Stroming, special projects assistant at the Puget Sound Partnership. The full Leadership Council agenda and meeting materials are available at https://psp.wa.gov/board_meetings.php. These meetings are open to the public and all are welcome to provide comment and learn about the regional effort to restore and protect Puget Sound. If you need special accommodations to participate in this meeting, please notify Special Assistant to the Boards Anna Petersen at 360.338.2384.   About the Leadership Council The Leadership Council is the governing body of the Puget Sound Partnership. Its seven members are leading citizens chosen from around the Sound and appointed by the Governor to serve four-year terms. Jay Manning currently chairs the Leadership Council.  About the Puget Sound Partnership The Puget Sound Partnership is the state agency formed to lead the region’s collective effort to restore and protect Puget Sound. Working with hundreds of governments, tribes, scientists, businesses, and nonprofits, the Partnership mobilizes partner action around a common agenda, advances Sound investments, and tracks progress to optimize recovery. For more information, go to www.psp.wa.gov.

Washington State Dept of Fish and Wildlife proposes closing four trout hatcheries

As the State Legislature plans on meeting in January to come up with a budget for the biennium, all departments are being asked to reduce their budgets given the COVID-19 pandemic. The State WDFW has proposed some closures of trout hatcheries.

Per their document: If this reduction is taken, it would result in the closure of four trout hatcheries, including: Arlington Hatchery in Snohomish County, Chelan Hatchery in Chelan County, Naches Hatchery in Yakima County, and Mossyrock in Lewis County. Closure of these facilities would result in reduced production of West slope cutthroat, eastern brook, rainbow trout, brown trout, golden trout, tiger trout, and kokanee. This production represents 13.8% percent of the statewide trout production and contributes to recreational fishing opportunities which have an annual economic value of $75.3 million economies (based on Wegge, T. 2009 Technical Memo. Economic Analysis of WDFW Hatchery Programs with Seattle CPI inflator and WDFW angler survey data, 2019). This reduction would also result in limited ability to participate in inland enhancement cooperative programs and would eliminate critical hatchery maintenance and repairs by 32% across all facilities, increasing the chances of catastrophic failures and fish loss. The fishing opportunities supported by these facilities contribute to the agencies license sales, so the reduction also risks reducing revenue for the state wildlife account (24N). Washington’s trout hatcheries play an important role in recruiting new anglers into the sport and providing fishing access to users with diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.

This blog will follow this issue as the months unfold.

Tires, Roads and Rain Gardens – Hakai Magazine

We have covered the issues of road runoff before, in articles done from the University of Washington research on Hwy 520. Now more science weighs in about runoff from car tires, recycled tires and the use of rain gardens to mitigate the issue. Also, Jefferson County has been actively trialing rain gardens, sometimes to the amusement of the public. This is another example of rain gardens possibly coming to the rescue.


A stealthy source of pollution leaves the highway in astonishing amounts and heads to sea, toxic chemicals and all. Laura Trethewey reports. (Hakai Magazine)

When Rubber Hits the Road—and Washes Away

“Three Seconds” #Film4Climate Winner

The grand prize winner of #Film4Climate. A powerful 4 minutes from Prince Ea and Spencer Sharp. Pass it on. Will there be a fourth second?

To see all the winning entries.

https://www.connect4climate.org/article/film4climate-competition-winners-announced

And more of the organization that brought this to you. Connect4Climate.org

The Challenge. Our network. Your Community.

Communicate change and accelerate real-world solutions through partnerships, competitions, events, and knowledge sharing.

  Take on climate change. Ending extreme poverty is impossible without tackling climate change. Now is the time to face the defining challenge of our generation.

  Collaborate for impact. Forge creative partnerships to advance solutions and bring new audiences into the climate change movement. Share experiences and knowledge.

  Communicate for action. Join an ever-growing community. Hear how others are taking on climate change and inspire by sharing your own stories. Contribute online and in person to grow the climate movement. Contribute by adding your voice to our community, and add your climate change content to our Connect4Climate Facebook Knowledge Group and our Facebook Student Group.

  Get involved. Play your part in the global climate change movement by sharing your experiences, resources, and knowledge. Have your say. Talk to us about developing innovative campaigns that will inspire, enthuse and reach new audiences.

  Go social. Contribute to our blogs and post on our Facebook page. Tweet your thoughts and ideas. Taken some good pictures or video? Upload on Instagram, Vimeo or YouTube, then tag us to let us know.

The long nightmare is over

For four years we have watched as an incompetent, angry man has wreaked havoc with politics in this country. Beyond bringing out the worse in many Americans, who continued to vote for him in record numbers, he has also caused the most environmental harm to them, his voters.

This blog reports on the environment, and Trump has decimated his voters over and over again by his lack of understanding, sympathy and ability to do things to help them as they struggle with an ever warming planet.

As I have reported here in the past, analysis of the 2016 election by the New York Times, and my comparison of where the California, Oregon and Washington wildfires were the worse, showed clearly that Trump dominated counties in the three states were the hardest hit by wildfires.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the south coast of the U.S. along with our
“protectorate” of Puerto Rico, has been devastated by a series of hurricanes. Trump’s incompetent administration has done almost nothing to help the people of those places after the fact, with minimal engagement and FEMA support. His angry diatribes against the leaders of Puerto Rico have done nothing but angered the voters there.

I and many others that care about the environment are gratified that we again have a leader that will lead by science and by example.

Closer to home, here in Jefferson County, a long time environmental leader was defeated in her bid to become a Jefferson County Commissioner. Lorna Smith conceded defeat to Heidi Eisenhower, a community activist with Non-profit or Non Governmental Organizational (NGO) roots. While we know that Ms. Eisenhower has stated a commitment to the environment, we will watch and see if she has the political will and ability to deliver. The lack of an ability of the Jefferson County Commissioners to reign in Joe D’Amico’s plans for an outdoor firing range and paramilitary training facility, passing the buck to the County Planning Commission (of which Lorna was a member), was one reason that this blog supported Ms. Smith’s campaign. To remind readers, the Planning Commission got the job done. We support politicians who can deliver on promises.

In additional good news, all our Democratic candidates on the Peninsula won re-election, along with the head of DNR and the Governor as well. This bodes well for positive steps being taken and Federal funding to help achieve our goals.

Biden plans immediate flurry of executive orders to reverse Trump policies – Washington Post

In a stunning set of announcements President Elect – Joe Biden’s team has announced that he will waste no time reversing the worse of President Trump’s dictates. The message on the environment is clear, “The U.S. is back and we care about the environment.” Now, we go on the offense rather than the defense. The interesting thing will be whether or not he has the ability, like LBJ, to get the Senate to come to the table to get things done.

Out of the announcement is the following, much hoped for statement.

Without congressional cooperation, however, Biden has said that he plans to immediately reverse Trump’s rollback of 100 public health and environmental rules that the Obama administration had in place.

Washington Post

Washington Post Story link here.

More on ‘murder hornets’ from local entomologist.

I’ve known Norm Baker for the last decade. He always has thoughtful information to share. While this is a comment in another post, I wanted to break it out to share more fully.


I am trained as an entomologist and am aware of the murder hornet and have been for many years. If this hornet becomes established and, that is quite likely, it will be a problem because of anaphylactic shock from the sting. When a hornet or yellowjacket or paper wasp sting, it isn’t a single injection. It is more like five or six injections in a very short row to get the maximum benefit or pain. Anaphylactic shock will be a matter of public safety and it may be necessary to broaden the purview of public safety a bit. I say this because being trained as an entomologist, I have seen two people go into anaphylactic shock after years, many years of working with insects and suddenly becoming susceptible to the sting or other insect protein. In one case, a 50-year-old woman researcher in the lab next to mine at U of M, had a cockroach run up her arm and she developed tiny red marks where the animal ran. A couple of months later, a cockroach escaped a culture cage, she grabbed it and put it back in. 20 minutes later she went into anaphylactic shock and if the lab technician and a couple of students had not been present, she would have died. In another case, a 55-year-old man who had worked with honeybees is entire professional life was so used to being stung, he simply ignored them. Unfortunately, he and a student were in the field and he got that one sting too many and started gasping for breath. If his graduate student had not been there, he would have died. Data on anaphylactic shock from insect stings, shows that 90% of the time, it looks like the person suffered a heart attack.

I read over the paper on where the Asian giant hornet can be expected to live and it is most of the Pacific Northwest. I can also tell from the eradication efforts by the Department of Agriculture, that all of their efforts still do not tell us if it is possible to control this animal. The problem is the fall dispersal of those queen hornets. They go into a kind of hibernation and in the spring, set up housekeeping very quickly and build a nest very quickly. My experience as an entomologist says this will eventually be a low level problem here in Clallam County. But, it will also take some training for EMTs and I can just about guarantee some of you police people are going to get involved indirectly because of the anaphylactic shock.

A lot of press time is devoted to the devastating effects of these hornets on bee colonies. What I have not seen is the use of a screen “excluder” that prevents the hornets from entering a beehive simply because they are much larger in size. It will simply be a matter of time before the nations beekeepers learn how to handle this hornet around their hives. The real concern here is anaphylactic shock that is passed off as a heart attack when no help is present and someone is stung.

But, there is more to the murder hornet then people really realize in this country.

For example take a look at this article; https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/05/world/asia/murder-hornet-japan.html

Or even Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_giant_hornet

Norm Baker, PhD

Orcas for Biden!

Local Jefferson county Democrat Jes Schumacher getting out the vote.

Jefferson County Dems Endorsements for 2020

For your voting choice. I support all of these endorsements. They are people we know will support environmental protection.

President/Vice President – Joe R. Biden and Kamala D. Harris

Governor – Jay Inslee
Lieutenant Governor – Denny Heck
Secretary of State – Gael Tarleton
State Treasurer – Mike Pellicciotti
State Auditor – Pat (Patrice) McCarthy
Attorney General – Bob Ferguson
Commissioner of Public Lands – Hilary Franz
Superintendent of Public Instruction – Chris Reykdal
Insurance Commissioner – Mike Kreidler

Congressional District 6 – Derek Kilmer
State Representative Position 1 – Mike Chapman
State Representative Position 2 – Steve Tharinger
State Senator – Kevin Van de Wege

State Supreme Court Position 3 – Raquel Montoya-Lewis
State Supreme Court Position 4 – Charles Johnson
State Supreme Court Position 6 – G Helen Whitener
State Supreme Court Position 7 – Debra Stephens

Jefferson County Commissioner District 1 – Kate Dean
Jefferson County Commissioner District 2 – dual endorsement of Heidi Eisenhour and Lorna Smith. Both are long time Democratic supporters who support environmental protection. Differences will be covered in an upcoming post.

I am personally supporting Lorna Smith, who has many more years in government than Heidi does.

Referendum Measure 90 – APPROVE
Advisory Votes 32, 33, 34, and 35 – MAINTAIN
Senate Joint Resolution 8212 – APPROVE

What the pandemic has done to WA’s flagship shellfish industry – Crosscut

A very good article on the state of the shellfish industry in our state. Quotes from people here in the area working in the industry.

The pandemic tanked the shellfish industry, but growers are “tentatively optimistic” that things are looking up.

By Hannah Weinberger
Crosscut Article

Do we know enough to do anything about the sea lions of Puget Sound? -PSI


Chris Dunagan writes: “Scientists have known for years that Chinook salmon are important to southern resident orcas, but Chinook are not the only fish the whales eat. At the moment, chum salmon are returning to Puget Sound, and recent orca sightings suggest that the whales may now be feeding on chum. Harbor seals also eat Chinook salmon, but also chum, coho and other fish. They seem fond of smaller fish like herring and juvenile salmon. Oh, what a tangled food web we weave… Southern resident orcas are considered endangered. Puget Sound Chinook and steelhead are threatened. Harbor seals seem to be everywhere, hardly struggling to find food, at least as far as anyone can tell. So is it time to bring the powerful influence of humans into the equation by forcefully reducing the harbor seal population in Puget Sound? It’s a question that people have been pondering for years, but I’m not sure we’re much closer to an answer…” (Puget Sound Institute)

Do we know enough to do anything about all the seals and sea lions in Puget Sound?

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