Al Latham’s Weather Report for November

Thanks to Al for continuing to let us in on the local weather stats! We love his work!


Greetings inhabitants of earth!

Here’s the November rainfall/precipitation report from your friendly www.cocorahs.org station WA-JF-1 located slightly off Center, 5.1 miles south of the bustling metropolis of Chimacum.

Yup, you’re right, November was dry!  Only 1.17″ found in the rain gauge with 5.1″ being the average at this place.

With only 2 months accumulation in the new water year (started Oct 1) the total is 3.26″ with 7.9″ being the average.

November is often our wettest month – not this year!

In fact, it’s the driest November recorded here since 1981- the next driest was 2013 with 1.32″.  That was followed by a very dry December and much wetter Feb & Mar.  We’ll see what happens this winter.

A bit disconcerting to be going into December with the ditches dry and the pond at it’s lowest level.

The coho will be having a hard time getting into the upper watershed of Chimacum Creek with these low water levels.

The NOAA climate prediction center is guessing that Dec-Feb will be warmer and slightly wetter than “normal” – but forecasts out more than 10 days are more art than science – not that art is bad of course!

That’s it for this edition of Weather – or not!   Al

 

“Imagine a Thanksgiving dinner of your great grandchildren a hundred years from now.  

In the center of the table is a bright silver salmon locally caught and cooked in the practiced way of long enjoyment and reverence.

At the end of the feast will be a simple ceremony – a long walk to the creek with neighboring families, each with a wooden bowl of salmon bones,

to return the remains to the waters of their creation in gratitude and respect.

Perhaps there will be mention of the ancestors, if that is who we decide to be – the old ones who stayed put, who gave the salmon shelter in their hearts

and found their own way home”.

(excerpt from “Homecoming”  by our chum Tom Jay  – one who stayed put.)

Cooke Aquaculture pays 2.75 Million dollar fine for net pen collapse

The company responsible for the net pen collapse that released large numbers of Atlantic Salmon into Puget Sound has settled out of court in advance of a Monday court date.

Cooke Aquaculture has reached a settlement to pay $2.75 million in legal fees and to fund Puget Sound restoration projects, putting an end to a Clean Water Act lawsuit that followed the 2017 collapse of one of the fish-farming company’s net-pen structures. – Seattle Times. Read the full article here and consider subscribing to the Times and keeping local reporters working.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/cooke-aquaculture-settles-lawsuit-with-wild-fish-advocates-over-net-pen-collapse/

These funds will go to help pay legal expenses, and the rest of the funds will go to the Rose Foundation to fund environmental projects to protect wild salmon and killer whales in Puget Sound, as well as WFC’s litigation expenses. Cooke also agreed to change their practices and address additional dangers identified in the course of the lawsuit, according to Wild Fish Conservancy, who brought the lawsuit.

“This is truly a victory for the future of our sound,” said Kurt Beardslee, executive director of Wild Fish Conservancy. “Open water net pen aquaculture is a risky business, and thanks to this settlement we are one step closer to getting this dirty industry out of Puget Sound once and for all. This was long in coming. Last year, the public demanded an end to Atlantic salmon net pens. Just last week, thousands of people spoke out against switching these farms to different species. Now a federal judge ruled that Cooke broke the law. It’s time for this industry to leave Puget Sound.”

Cooke’s operations continue to put wild salmon and the health of Puget Sound at risk. Just weeks ago, one of the Bainbridge Island net pens began sinking due to a hole in a flotation pontoon; luckily, the damaged portion was not stocked with Atlantic salmon at the time but may have resulted in an escape were the pens occupied. Marine engineer Tobias Dewhurst, an independent expert testifying on behalf of Wild Fish Conservancy, reviewed conditions at each farm site and determined “conditions at each of its eight sites exceeded the maximum rated conditions specified by the net pen manufacturer,” and that as a result “pens and cages operated by Cooke were at risk of failure.” Even given subsequent changes, Dewhurst concluded, “certain remaining sites appear to be operating in conditions that exceed those specified by the net pen system manufacturers,” and therefore “may be at risk of partial or catastrophic failure.”

http://www.wildfishconservancy.org/cooke-aquaculture-to-pay-2.75-million-ending-wfc-lawsuit-over-net-pen-collapse-1

Recently, Cooke has partnered with the Jamestown S’Klallam to reopen the net pens in Port Angeles to raise native, but genetically modified steelhead. While the danger of these fish escaping and somehow altering native stocks is dramatically lessened, there is still the issue raised by Wild Fish Conservancy, of destruction of the environment in and around the feeding pens, along with possible affects of raising large quantities of fish in a small enclose. Virus and parasites are traditionally the concern, yet the Tribe has claimed that they are working on mitigation techniques. The Tribe has been researching raising these steelhead at the NOAA research facility at Manchester for the last few years. Their goal is to do this as environmentally responsibly as possible giving current scientific best practices. Many in the environmental community remain unconvinced that this won’t become another problem.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has issued a mitigated determination of non-significance, which allowed only  a 21-day comment period. This requires neither a full environmental assessment nor environmental impact statement under the State Environmental Policy Act. Such an assessment would have considered the risks of diseases, pollution, further escapes and collapses, and the potential harm to federally-listed native steelhead. Kurt Beardsley of Wild Fish Conservancy said of the lack of EIS, “The 2017 collapse revealed that these pens are dramatically under-built for conditions in Puget Sound, and that Cooke’s recovery plan in the event of escapes was woefully inadequate. More escapes would directly threaten our wild salmon, steelhead trout, and endangered killer whales. Without a full EIS, the state cannot address the evidence from their investigations and WFC’s.

The Tribe at least brings a local group that has a a track record of being  concerned with long term viability of the resource, and is not going to be moving operations like many international corporations do.

Just to the north, on the Canadian Coast, a long running battle over farmed fish has pitted environmental scientist and activist Alexandra Morton against the fish farming industry. She has been working with the local tribes in documenting a horribly destructive virus that has appeared from Norway in both the local wild fish and the farm raised fish.

While Washington state passed legislation banning PRV-infected farm salmon, it is still an unknown as to whether the virus is affecting the ever decreasing numbers of wild chinook that are the primary food of the resident orcas. Reopening net pens here could provide a vector for fish carrying the disease that could be passing through the infected waters to the north on their way here.

(more on this story at The Georgia Straight News)

In October, Cooke paid another large fine in Maine for multiple violations of their laws for fish farming.  https://www.seafoodsource.com/news/aquaculture/cooke-to-pay-fine-for-overstocking-maine-salmon-farms-not-conducting-environmental-testing

In April, Cooke paid over $300,000 for water quality violations here in Washington.

Bill Ruckelshaus Dies

One of the the legends of the Northwest environmental movement, William Ruckelshaus, died Wednesday at his home in Seattle, at the age of 87. He was not only the first head of the EPA ( as a Republican) but also guided the Puget Sound Partnership and many other environmental efforts both here and around the country. He was considered a visionary in environmental issues by many in this area.

Beyond his incredible early years in the Nixon and Reagan administrations, as the first and fifth administrator of the EPA,  in 2005 he was appointed by Governor Gregoire to co-chair the Puget Sound Partnership to organize the cleanup of Puget Sound. This effort is still struggling to succeed, though the date that they assigned to achieve it is only a few years away. It has been a noble goal, but one that has been plagued with a variety of mismanagement, unrealistic timelines, a lack of appropriate funding for public education on the issues, and endless bureaucratic meetings that have not accomplished a great deal by the very measures that the Partnership has put in place. The Partnership has acted more as a monitoring, prioritization and a channel to hand out funds to groups working on restoration, rather than championing laws that could more quickly produce results. The continued collapse of Chinook and resident orca whales has been an example of the ongoing controversy in recovery efforts. None of this is because of Bill, but reflects the problems with achieving the vision that he created and his low key efforts to placate all sides.

Ruckelshaus’ legacy is well documented in a variety of obituaries, which I list below. What I could sum up as someone who has been involved in the environmental movement for many years, is that everyone respected Bill Ruckleshaus, no matter which side of the issue you may have been on.

I interviewed him for an epilogue to my film, “Voices of the Strait”, the first film funded by the Puget Sound Partnership, in 2010. He was gracious and intelligent. My interview with him starts at 15:52 on the video found here. https://vimeo.com/20621992

We will miss his guidance in working out solutions between factions of polluters and protectors of the Salish Sea. Those of us who are firm in wanting to protect  the vanishing habitat of our wildlife, need someone like Bill who can sit in the endless meetings with the opposition and craft something of value.  As a moderate Republican in favor of supporting environmental protection, he was the last of a breed.

One of the better quick reads on Ruckelshaus.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/william-d-ruckelshaus-who-refused-to-join-in-nixons-saturday-night-massacre-dies-at-87/2019/11/27/e089e474-113a-11ea-bf62-eadd5d11f559_story.html

https://www.politico.com/news/2019/11/27/william-ruckelshaus-first-epa-chief-dies-at-87-074237

NY Times version. More balanced on his achievements and some of the controversies surrounding his various stages of life.

A version that minimizes his work here in the Puget Sound.

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/william-ruckelshaus-who-refused-to-join-in-nixons-saturday-night-massacre-dies-at-87/

 

 

 

 

Clallam County Planning Division Says No to Dungeness Spit Jamestown S’Klallam Oyster Farm

While a small victory for the opponents of the proposed oyster farm inside Dungeness Spit, it does not mean that the Hearing Examiner will actually follow their recommendation. The Planning Division stated that the farm is not consistent with the Natural Shoreline Designation, does not meat the CUP (Conditional Use Permit)  Criteria, and will negatively impact wildlife at Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge.

Oddly, though the current area is natural, because the location has been used in the past for oyster farming, the staff found that there would be no cumulative impacts. That flies in the face of the recent Army Corp of Engineers court loss, that discovered unpublished Army Corp scientific documents that clearly delineated the ongoing destruction of near shore from continuous use.

The staff also points out that “Based on the density of birds that visit the DNWR and their sensitivity for disturbance while migrating and foraging, even small impacts at this wildlife refuge could result in substantial detrimental effects (emphasis mine) to the public interest.”

The objective of the Natural designation are intended to preserve, maintain or restore such a shoreline as a natural resource relatively free of human influence; to discourage or prohibit those activities which might destroy or degrade the natural characteristics which make these shorelines unique and valuable. The applicant should address how the proposal with up to 80,000 on-bottom bags with year round gear maintenance of up to 6 people visiting the site for up to 6 hours 6 times a month within the migration and wintering periods for shorebirds and waterfowl is an appropriate use in the Natural Designation located off the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. (emphasis mine)

It seems it would be a good time for our state legislators and DNR  to step up, and work with the Tribe to swap this area for another spot. The risk of long term damage to our dwindling stocks of shorebirds, marine birds, herring, sand lance and the like at this critical location, close to the estuary and the preferred feeding area of nesting birds from Protection Island, poses the threat of irreversible  harm.

 

 

 

Video: Blue Carbon- A Story from the Snohomish Estuary

What is the Green New Deal in action? Here’s a 5 minute overview of the work and reasons behind restoring the Snohomish Estuary, which could be considered an element of the New Green deal today.. An extremely clear story of why we need to restore salt water estuaries both for carbon sequestration, protection against storm surge, and much more. A fun watch! Especially share it with pre-teens and teens!

 

Oil spill in Fidalgo Bay appears contained, Ecology says – Seattle Times

Here we go again. We apparently got lucky this time. A “small” spill. Though to be clear, there is no such thing. Why? Because, as written in “Conserve Energy Future” is

What is common in all of them is that the damage caused by them is permanent and takes a long time to clean up.

Friday at the Shell Puget Sound Refinery in Anacortes.

According to Shell and the Washington Department of Ecology: The spill occurred at about 11:30 p.m. as a Crowley Maritime barge was transferring about 5 million gallons of crude oil from Alaska to the refinery. It appears that a much smaller quantity spilled, though the amount was still unknown, said Ty Keltner, Ecology’s communications manager for spill response.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/oil-spill-in-fidalgo-bay-late-friday-appears-contained-ecology-says/

 

NOSC is hiring!

From Rebecca Benjamin the Executive Director of NOSC.


Dear Friends and Colleagues,The North Olympic Salmon Coalition is excited to announce… we’re hiring!

The Salmon Coalition is seeking a highly skilled, friendly, and dedicated person to join the team as Membership & Office Administrator.

This position plays a core role in the day to day function of the Salmon Coalition and maintains efficient administration of the membership program as well as a variety of program and organizational support.

Please pass this posting along to anyone you know that might be interested. The job announcement can be found here.

Position: Membership and Office Administrator

FLSA Status: Part Time, Non-exempt

Hours: Monday – Friday, 25 hours per week

Pay: $18-$21/hour

Location: Port Hadlock, WA    Reports to: Executive Director

Summary:

The North Olympic Salmon Coalition (NOSC) is excited to add a part-time Membership and Office Administrator to their team.  NOSC works to promote robust wild salmon stocks for families, fishers, and local economies by furthering habitat restoration and education on the North Olympic Peninsula. We are one of fourteen Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups in Washington State, working directly with State agencies, tribal governments and local communities across the Olympic Peninsula. This busy non-profit has 7 employees, an office in Port Hadlock and in Port Angeles, and is governed by a board of directors.

The Membership and Office Administrator plays a core role in the day to day function of the NOSC and maintains efficient administration of the membership program as well as a variety of program and organizational support. A friendly, skilled and dedicated Administrator is needed to keep office systems running smoothly and to ensure compliance with state and federal policies and internal administrative processes.  Administration of the membership program is a core function of a successful fundraising program.  Accurate record keeping, meaningful reporting and timely acknowledgement of donations perpetuates a successful fundraising effort.  The membership portion of this position is core to the fundraising committee’s success and will play a support role through promotion of fundraising drives and events, effective administration of gifts, and through friendly and heart-felt acknowledgement of gifts.

Areas of Responsibility

  1. Office Management and Administration
  2. Membership and Donations
  3. Bookkeeping and Billing
  4. Program and organizational support to the office and executive director in a variety of areas

Qualifications

  • Associates Degree in business administration, communications or related field
  • Three (3) years in previous administrative/office management position
  • One (1) year database management experience

Wage DOE. Benefits include vacation and sick leave, holidays and a 401K option.

To Apply email a resume and cover letter to Lindsay Anderson at

Lindsay@full-circlehr.com  with the subject line title “Application for Membership and Office Administrator.” A full job description is available upon request.

 

*North Olympic Salmon Coalition is an equal opportunity employer.

www.nosc.org

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