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

 

Canada Lynx disappearing from Washington State – WSU Research

While not directly linked to the North Olympic Peninsula, this is more bad news for species facing a warming climate. I post this to offset the anti-science based notion that the species will simply ‘follow the food north’. That doesn’t appear to be what is happening.

A massive monitoring study led by Washington State University researchers has found lynx on only about 20% of its potential habitat in the state. The study, published recently in the Journal of Wildlife Management, covered more than 4,300 square miles (7,300 km) in northeastern Washington with camera traps but detected lynx in only 29 out of 175 monitored areas.

Canada lynx disappearing from Washington state

 

A real time global warming experiment

We have entered totally uncharted territory lately, as we all know, due to a virus that may or may not have started in a wet market in a Chinese city most of us have never heard of before this event.  We had been warned about viruses becoming more frequent as global warming accelerates.  and also here. (https://www.livescience.com/55632-deadly-diseases-emerge-from-global-warming.html)

Our current President has dismissed science, the scientists  that could have helped prevent it, the budget for them, our global alliances that we rely on for support and almost any mention of a science based approach. We have one of the most ignorant men of the modern era leading us at the most important time of the last twenty years. Those that elected him were fools then and now will likely follow him into the hospital as they listen to his lies and misinformation. Many innocent people will die from this. We are in free fall and are racing to find a way to stop the pandemic. Most likely we will, but at what cost?

I have been busy setting up remote at-home workstations for clients, complete with video conferencing, using the remote access tool TeamViewer. (highly recommended). So I apologize for not having kept up on this blog, which so many tell me they rely on for local environmental news. It’s been amazing to watch as people who have resisted virtual communications as it has grown, suddenly find themselves needing to become proficient with it to survive. People can change when they have to. It’s a lesson worth noting as we face the future.

The only good news out of all of this, is that we are seeing in real time, what the Green New Deal may have accomplished on a orderly basis, which is the radical slowing of our green house gases into the environment. Certainly there will still be coal fired electrical generation happening, but with the vast bulk of petroleum based engines being idled, we will gain some insight into what it means to stop oil use globally.

We can now watch, in real time, as we see how much impact a major shift away from oil will have. I’m looking forward to seeing the data.

I’m still hopeful. As Mindy Lubber, the CEO of Ceres, a sustainability non profit organization said in a recent Forbes article,

One thing that history has shown us is that a crisis can produce real change. The power of collective action will become evident. True leaders will emerge. The impossible will become inevitable. Innovative ideas and policy solutions will take hold, save lives and eventually get the economy back on track.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mindylubber/2020/03/26/coronavirus-climate-change-and-our-community/#2d4b2fa84f78

Stay strong, get out and get a walk. Protect yourself and stay healthy. We’ll need all of us after this is over to move back into real change for the next crisis that our warming world is creating.

 

New Year Brings New Protections For West Coast Seafloor Habitat – OPB

And more good news, as environmentalists and fishermen come together to finalize protecting one of the largest coastal areas in the world from destructive trawling practices, while recovering fish stocks. This has been a poster child for how to achieve a balanced approach to ocean management.

Regulations starting Jan. 1 restrict bottom trawl fishing on about 90% of the seafloor off Oregon, Washington and California.

Read the whole story at the link below:

https://www.opb.org/news/article/new-laws-2020-west-coast-seafloor-habitat-coral-sponges/

DNR proposes new tax for protecting Washington from looming wildfire crisis

While some politicians at the national level continue to say that climate change is a hoax, and that there is no cost to doing business as usual, our west coast natural resources managers are well aware of the rising costs to protect us from the increase in wildfires around our states. DNR head Hilary Franz has just proposed a new tax to help properly fund her department, which has been suffering from a lack of appropriate funds coming from the Trump Administration.  This is the new normal under the Trump Administration, starve the States with a lack of Federal funding, and force you and I to fund saving our neighbors. To be clear, that is a losing battle. Spreading the costs across all our States, is a cheaper way to do this.

New insurance surcharge to fight wildfires to be proposed by Washington’s lands commissioner

Determined to create reliable funding to prevent and fight Washington wildfires, the state commissioner of public lands and some Democratic lawmakers are about to make a new push for revenue.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/new-insurance-surcharge-to-fight-wildfires-to-be-proposed-by-washingtons-lands-commissioner/

 

https://www.dnr.wa.gov/about/legislative

 

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/

 

Washing Laundry May Be An Underappreciated Source of Microplastic Pollution – Columbia University

More bad news on how our daily lives are affecting the planet.

Concerns over plastic in the ocean are growing in recent years. About 2.41 million tons of plastic waste enter the oceans every year, including approximately 15,000 plastic bags per day. However, most of the plastic waste (94 percent) is made up of microplastics — pieces of plastic measuring less than five millimeters across. This summer, three interns at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory decided to focus their research on microplastics, specifically microbeads and microfibers. Mentored by Lamont marine biologist Joaquim Goes, the students Emmerline Ragoonath-De Mattos, Mariela Carrera, and Asya Surphlis uncovered a significant culprit of microplastic pollution that is largely overlooked: the washing of laundry…For now, there are products that consumers can buy to filter microfibers out in the washing machine. Two such options are products called Guppyfriend and the Cora Ball

Washing Laundry May Be An Underappreciated Source of Microplastic Pollution

‘The smell will knock you off your feet’: mass mussel die-offs baffle scientists | Environment | The Guardian

The Chehalis River is one of the locations mentioned in this article.

Mussels, the backbone of the river ecosystem because they control silt levels and filter water, are facing a mysterious affliction
— Read on www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/14/the-smell-will-knock-you-off-your-feet-mass-mussel-die-offs-baffle-scientists

This Is Not a Drill: 700+ Arrested as Extinction Rebellion Fights Climate Crisis with Direct Action -Democracy Now

Finally, we are seeing the kind of demonstrations demanding action that have been building for the last few years. The US and Canada have been lagging behind other parts of the world in demanding climate action from our leaders. Now, with Extinction Rebellion, we see a real force for getting the kind of “Act Up” urgency into the mainstream  (the people who launched the AIDS crisis demonstrations that galvanized others to demand action).  I’ve not heard of a Extinction Rebellion group here locally. If you know of them, have them contact me. I’d like to do a discussion session with them.

More than 700 people have been arrested in civil disobedience actions as the group Extinction Rebellion kicked off two weeks of protests in 60 cities worldwide, demanding urgent government action on the climate crisis. Its members have superglued themselves to government buildings, occupied public landmarks, shut down roads and taken to the streets to sound the alarm about the impending catastrophe of global warming. Extinction Rebellion, a nonpolitical movement, launched last year in the U.K. and rose to prominence in April, when it disrupted traffic in Central London for 11 days. For more about the significance of the coordinated global protests, we speak with Extinction Rebellion co-founder Gail Bradbrook.

Mr. Rogers and teaching kids about climate change

While this blog publishes a lot of articles that can be  quite depressing when placed in context, I feel a need to make sure that we here on the Peninsula get the big picture. You the reader can edit them out yourself. However, there is  discussion I’ve heard about being positive, especially for younger audiences, tailoring the message. That is a good idea. Greta Thurnberg is championing waking up the teens. But as she said, she suffered from depression when coming to grips with it. No one in her family or school apparently understood how to communicate the message to her.

This article in Grist, below, and also the recent documentary film about Fred Rogers (not the Tom Hanks movie) are worth considering.

My goal, when talking to anyone about climate change, is to establish rapport that

  • It is here and happening now, not something coming in the future. Younger audiences can be told how we are the beginning of weather changes that they will continue to see as they grow up. And that they can do things, to help make the changes go better.
  • Focus on what people can do. Children like being included. Pick up trash on the beach, don’t throw bags in the water, etc. Small things build their ability to understand larger things later.
  • Ask adults what they think they can do that could make a difference. Fly less? Drive less? Become more politically active?

Fred Rogers was a master of communicating hard news to children. In fact, as the movie states, “He was radical”. His taking on issues of assassination, death, violence and divorce, were well thought out and researched in advance. I recommend this movie to anyone that teaches young children. If you never really gave Mr. Rogers any thought, this will be an eye opener.

Grist also just published the following article.

Life as an outdoor educator might seem like it’s all fun and games — romping around outside, playing games, looking at bugs — until it comes to talking to 9-year-olds about climate change.

“They want to talk about it, but it can be hard sometimes,” Ian Schooley said with a laugh. He spent four years teaching visiting fourth and fifth graders at the Pacific Science Center’s Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center about the wetland ecosystems just outside of Seattle. Wetlands are a unique habitat that filters water, sucks up carbon dioxide, and protects our coasts — but the triple threat of sea-level rise, pollution, and development is putting them at risk.

When teaching kids about climate change, don’t be a downer

Humans’ role in climate change, oil and gas industry lawyer says ‘that ship has sailed’ – Wa Post

The Washington Post got ahold of closed door comments by the a top Petroleum industry executive. This shows that the industry is well aware of their role in this climate emergency, and that they are not assuming the Trump agenda is lasting or helping them.

The burning of petroleum accounted for 45 percent of the United States’ energy-related carbon emissions last year, according to the Energy Information Administration, while natural-gas burning contributed 31 percent.

In a closed-door meeting of oil and gas executives this summer in Colorado Springs, industry lawyer Mark Barron offered a bold proposal: Energy companies must accept that fossil fuels are helping to drive climate change. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s real, or not real, or what the issues are,” said Barron, who heads the energy litigation arm of Baker Hostetler. “That ship has sailed from a political perspective.” Barron added that any American younger than 40 had grown up learning that climate change is “an existential crisis that we need to address.” The recording of the June 24 meeting of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), which was obtained by The Washington Post, highlights a growing schism between the Trump administration and key players in the fossil fuel industry. Even as Trump officials work to repeal federal restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions, some oil and gas executives say they have no choice but to press forward with plans to address climate change. Juliet Ellperin reports. (Washington Post)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/when-it-comes-to-acknowledging-humans-role-in-climate-change-oil-and-gas-industry-lawyer-says-that-ship-has-sailed/2019/09/26/63c0d250-c9c2-11e9-a4f3-c081a126de70_story.html

Fisheries disaster money after ‘Blob’ just now being disbursed as new marine heatwave looms – Seattle Times

It’s sad that it’s taken the federal government three years to get this money to the fishermen who needed it back then. Why can’t our federal government work faster?  Why don’t we demand it do so! Now, we face another marine heatwave. Can our commercial fisheries withstand another financial hit, with the Feds taking so long to come through?

The marine heatwave known as “The Blob” wreaked havoc on Northwest fisheries during 2015 and 2016, Ron Warren, fish policy director for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, told a Senate committee Wednesday. And before the federal government could even provide disaster relief for that event, another marine heatwave loomed, he said. The Blob stoked marine temperatures nearly 7 degrees higher than normal, according to his testimony. Fewer coho salmon returned. Those that did return were smaller. Fisheries had to be closed. Gov. Jay Inslee and representatives of several tribal governments in 2016 requested millions of dollars in federal fishing disaster funds to help offset the losses to fishing communities. Now, more than three years later, the fishing disaster money has only just arrived from the feds, Warren told senators. Evan Bush and Hal Bernton report. (Seattle Times)

Fisheries disaster money after ‘Blob’ just now being disbursed as new marine heatwave looms

How climate change threatens our health in the Pacific Northwest -Seattle Times

Ongoing coverage this week of the effects of the emerging Climate Emergency.

“I’m seeing things that I did not think would happen until 2050,” said Dr. Kristie Ebi, a professor in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. “Climate change is coming at us much faster, and the speed of change and how that’s going to affect extreme events is going to be very problematic.” Heat waves and floods are becoming more frequent and intense sooner than expected, she said.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/how-climate-change-threatens-our-health-in-the-pacific-northwest/?utm_source=referral&utm_medium=mobile-app&utm_campaign=ios

Climate change is already here. You have one last chance to stop it – Los Angeles Times

This week, all across the globe, news agencies are focusing on climate change.  This is late, but needed. The time has come to change the narrative and get everyone involved. We have just witnessed 70,000 Bahamians become climate refugees. Last year it was those in Northern California. And that’s just the big ones. This article talks about what the country and each of us individually need to think about. “Is that next plane flight really needed?”

The world climate is in crisis, and it is all our own doing. And we must through concerted global action end our reliance on fossil fuels before time runs out.
— Read on www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-climate-change-crisis-global-warming-part-1-story.html

Most American teens are frightened by climate change, poll finds, and about 1 in 4 are taking action – Washington Post

In the 1960s and 70s we faced the very real thread of nuclear annihilation. Now we are back at a very real threat that is much harder to find ways forward. As a child, I was very afraid of being blown to bits. It caused many of my friends to not want to engage in the society, and to do drugs because, “what’s the use?” There are children suffering now with the facts being presented to us. And there are children, like Greta Thurnberg that are standing up and taking action. Let’s support our children when they ask about going out on strike this Friday. The answer should be, “do it, can I join you?”

….A solid majority of American teenagers are convinced that humans are changing the Earth’s climate and believe that it will cause harm to them personally and to other members of their generation, according to a new Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll. Roughly 1 in 4 have participated in a walkout, attended a rally or written to a public official to express their views on global warming — remarkable levels of activism for a group that has not yet reached voting age. Sarah Kaplan and
Emily Guskin report. (Washington Post)

Most American teens are frightened by climate change, poll finds, and about 1 in 4 are taking action

One hour with 16 Year Old Climate Activist Greta Thunberg – Democracy Now!

One hour to hear from Greta in her own world. Get inspired.

https://www.democracynow.org/shows/2019/9/11

Volunteers trap European green crabs – PDN

The invasion continues. If you want to volunteer, you might want to talk to the folks at the Clallam County Marine Resources committee to see when they are going to be helping Emily Grason.

The invasive European green crab continues to keep a presence on the North Olympic Peninsula. The highest Peninsula counts so far this season have been on the Makah reservation on the West End, where 988 green crabs have been found, and at the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge, where volunteers have discovered 56, said marine ecologist Emily Grason, Crab Team program manager for Washington Sea Grant, last week. Those areas have had the largest totals for European green crab captures across the Salish Sea, she said. Matthew Nash reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Volunteers trap European green crabs

Proposed EPA Rules Could Limit State And Tribal Power To Block Infrastructure Projects -OPB

Over the last few years, since Trump came to power, I have been hearing about companies, some here in the NW engaged in shellfish farming, that have been quietly spending tens of thousands of dollars lobbying the Federal government to strip away the capability of local jurisdictions, such as county, state and tribal governments, to create local rules that could stymie the businesses operations or licensing by the federal government, under the Clean Water Act. A goal of theirs has been to take away the ability of local environmentally concerned organizations to sue, other than at the federal level.  Now, it appears the Trump administration is acting on their lobbying efforts. Think about fish farming, pulp mills, or any other activity covered under the Clean Water Act.

The rules specifically would restrict these non-federal governments’ authority to review the water quality impacts of projects that require a federal permit or license. These projects range from pipelines to hydropower facilities to dredging — any development that result in “discharge” into U.S. waters.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before October 21, 2019. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–HQ– OW–2019–0405, at https://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lauren Kasparek, Oceans, Wetlands, and Communities Division, Office of Water (4504–T), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 564–3351; email address: cwa401@epa.gov.

Read the whole legal document (very long, very difficult to follow if not a environmental lawyer) at

Click to access cwa401certification_2060-af86_nprm_20190807_prepublication_version.pdf

https://www.opb.org/news/article/federal-water-quality-rules-energy-infrastructure/

No flights, a four-day week and living off-grid: what climate scientists do at home to save the planet – The Guardian

I have talked to a number of people who wonder what they can do to help alleviate climate change, or prepare for it. Here’s a great article, with thoughts by a number of climate scientists on what they are doing. Can you cut down on the number of airplane flights a year? Switch diets? Maybe do just one of these.

 One of the best things you can do to address climate change is go down to a four-day working week. This would take some of the heat out of our ever-expanding economies, reduce our capacity and urge to consume, and create space to live a more balanced life.

I decided to retire from full time work a number of years ago, for many reasons, but one of them was to reduce  my carbon footprint. So far, it’s been a good, no, great choice. I only eat meat that has been small farm raised on grass and not grain, but there are numerous additional things I can do. A great idea for summer with your kids is to do a list of the various things that *could* be done to reduce your personal carbon footprint. i.e. is it really necessary to drive to a big box store to buy large bulk items? or paying a bit more to save the gas and pollution worth the trade off? How much do you actually save?

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/jun/29/no-flights-four-day-week-climate-scientists-home-save-planet?utm_source=pocket-newtab

While you are there reading this, donate a dollar or two to the finest newspaper on the planet, The Guardian.

 

Salmon Evolution chairman: Don’t discount land-based flow-through aquaculture – Seafoodsource.com

As this blog has advocated for many years, there is  no real good reason not to move aquaculture upland. Now, the CEO of a Norwegian salmon farming business, says it.

“The industry must expand, and to do that, land-based is the future. It will not be easier to find places to farm. On top of that, regulations will become harder and harder,” he said, referencing the ban the U.S. state of Washington placed on salmon net-pen aquaculture that goes into effect in 2025.

Reiten added that the company’s plan to pull water from the “deep sea” will help it prevent sea lice infestation at its new facility – sidestepping another major environmental problem facing net-pen salmon producers.

Read the whole story at:

https://www.seafoodsource.com/news/

 

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