Seattle Audubon Society dropping “Audubon” from its name – KNKX

In another move to cleanse this country of honoring people who owned and supported slavery, along with reaching out to communities of color to be more inclusive, the Seattle Audubon has taken the somewhat radical step of dropping the name of the foremost bird naturalist, John James Audubon. It is worth mentioning that while some may want to say that Audubon was just a “man of his times” there were many in this country at that time that opposed slavery. He made a choice.

Coming to grips with the real history of this country is clearly a painful task. With Republican news outlets and politicians making political hay from the idea that this is all a minority plot to dishonor our history, it is good to see organizations such as the Audubon Society take a controversial stand such as this. It clearly is in the tradition of Hazel Wolf, the woman who led the organization for years, and never backed down from a controversial position. Hazel was a fighter for women’s rights and indigenous rights along with being a most dynamic environmentalist. Not just a “restorationist” but an environmentalist. There are too few of those anymore in this country. It’s not a “politically correct” position in many forums where avoidance of conflict and funding for restoration projects trumps actual hard decisions for protection of the environment.

The Society will choose a new name this fall. This idea has also been spreading through other chapters in the rest of the states. An article in Audubon Magazine in fall of 2020 called into question the notion of honoring Audubon. Revealing the Past to Create the Future | Audubon

There was no immediate word from the National Audubon Society whether they will continue to support the Seattle Chapter. My guess is that other chapters will follow suit soon. It likely will cause a rethinking at the national level to keep all the chapters together. This groundswell can’t be contained.


The Seattle chapter of the Audubon Society announced that it is dropping “Audubon” from its name because of its association with white supremacy. There are hundreds of state and local chapters of the National Audubon Society, the nonprofit dedicated to protecting birds and their habitats, but Seattle Audubon is one of the largest in the country. Earlier this month, the board voted to change the chapter’s name because the man the organization is named after – illustrator, painter and bird lover John James Audubon, author of the seminal work “The Birds of America” – owned enslaved people and opposed abolition. Lilly Ana Fowler reports. (KNKX)

Seattle chapter of the Audubon Society dropping “Audubon” from its name to be more inclusive

Native American Environmental Legend Terry Williams Walks On

News out today that Tulalip Tribes Treaty Rights Commissioner and defacto leader of the Northwest environmental community has passed.

The bolo tie-wearing elder shaped state and national environmental policy. He was both soft-spoken and a powerful advocate.

Everett Herald

Terry Williams, Tulalip’s ‘champion of climate issues,’ dies at 74 | HeraldNet.com

Terry was always a presence at gatherings of environmental and restoration leadership for decades.

In the 1980s, Williams helped draw up the first Timber/Fish/Wildlife Agreement, a 57-page document outlining plans for a more ethical future for forestry. The accord, crafted through 60 meetings between tribes, timber companies and state agencies, provided the blueprint for negotiating regulations to protect old growth, fish-bearing streams and resolving disputes out of court.

Everett Herald

Always working with Billy Frank Jr. the two helped the tribes in Puget Sound to forge alliances after the Boldt Decision. I attended many meetings where he held the floor and gave focused discussions on what needed to be done to help return salmon to our waters. He dedicated his life to it. But it wasn’t just that dedication but the calm centered person he brought to the discussions. When he spoke, everyone listened.

“He really taught me to not get down and upset when you’re dealing with difficult issues,” Miller said. “I used to watch him having those conversations and I would be upset. I’d be so mad about it. And Terry would be so calm.”

There are people who are impossible to replace, given their history and dedication to a cause. Terry was one of those people. He always played the long game.

The Everett Herald has an excellent obituary on this giant of a man whose work will be felt eight generations from now, as the Tribes so eloquently state.

Terry Williams, Tulalip’s ‘champion of climate issues,’ dies at 74 | HeraldNet.com

WA Supreme Court landmark decision on forestlands

This is an incredibly important ruling by the Washington State Supreme Court. Why? Because it opens up the real possibility of better timber management to protect old growth along with looking at harvest and its effect on global warming by DNR.

The basis of the lawsuit was this: Article 16, Sec on 1 of the Washington State Constitution states “all the public lands granted to the state are held in trust for all the people.”

Read on. Joint press release from Conservation Northwest, Washington Environmental Council, and Olympic Forest Coalition. Below it is DNR head, Hilary Franz’s response.


Washington State Supreme Court Rules in Conservation Northwest v Commissioner of Public Lands
In an unanimous decision, Court recognizes State’s authority to manage forestlands for public benefit.

OLYMPIA, WA— Today, the Washington State Supreme Court confirms that the state has a constitutional mandate and broad authority to serve “all the people” of Washington and the public interest when managing state lands. This unanimous decision in the case of Conservation Northwest, et al. v. Commissioner of Public Lands, et al . , recognizes that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) can integrate the many diverse public benefits of forests into the management of state forestlands, beyond maximizing revenue genera on from timber harvests.


DNR has historically managed forestlands in ways that maximize revenue from logging, even at the expense of other public interests and benefits. This decision recognizes that the agency, Commissioner of Public Lands, Board of Natural Resources, and State of Washington have the power to manage public lands in ways that truly reflect and support our state’s evolving environmental, economic, and social needs.


The court’s decision states that DNR’s need to serve identified beneficiaries and DNR’s requirement under the State constitution to serve the public interest “should be construed in harmony.” As the Court explained, “[t]here appear to be myriad ways DNR could choose to generate revenue from the state and forest board lands or otherwise put them to use for the benefit of the enumerated beneficiaries.”


The court also states that DNR is not required to generate revenue specifically from timber harvests on state lands, but may elect to do so because of their discretion as trust managers. The agency is also not required to prioritize revenue maximization on in their land management.


“The battle we’ve been fighting is to achieve a fair balance. We have argued that the management of these lands has historically been pushed to maximize revenue. We have never fought to end all timber harvest on state lands,” said Peter Goldman, Director, Washington Forest Law Center and co-counsel for plaintiffs, “This decision confirms instead that the agency, Commissioner of Public Lands, Board of Natural Resources, and State of Washington does not have to maximize timber harvest or revenue generation, and have broad discretion on to balance revenue genera on for identified beneficiaries with management for the broader public interest. DNR and the Legislature now can design 21st Century forest management that meets the challenges we face today.”


Environmental organizations Conservation Northwest, Washington Environmental Council, and Olympic
Forest Coalition, as well as eight community members, brought forth the lawsuit arguing that the state constitution requires that the federally-granted public forestlands managed by the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are “held in trust for all the people.” There are approximately 2 million acres of “state trust lands” that were granted to the state by the federal government upon statehood, including almost 1.5 million acres that are forested.


“The court issued a monumental conservation ruling. Over coming years and decades, this ruling will be cited in support of nature-protection policies made by the legislature and the DNR. In short, the nature of this trust is that the state has the discretion to protect the public’s resources,” said Mitch Friedman, Executive Director of Conservation Northwest.

“We are encouraged to see that the Washington State Supreme Court has recognized the power and broad discretion the State has to manage public lands for the benefit of all the people, and not just for maximum timber revenue. Our state’s forests provide immense benefits to all of us–people, trees, animals, and our futures. Washingtonians should not be forced to choose between harvesting timber for funding and having healthy forests to protect our air, water, habitat, and public health,” said Alyssa Macy, CEO of Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters. “This decision opens the door for the Department of Natural Resources to manage our public lands toward a healthy, equitable future for generations to come.”


“We are now seeing unprecedented changes in our state forests, habitats, and watersheds from climate disruption”, said Connie Gallant, President of the Olympic Forest Coalition , “We can no longer afford to mine our forests only for short term revenues, assuming without scientific evidence that they will continue to grow back indefinitely. We simply cannot blindly sacrifice the environment any more. The Court recognized that DNR and the Legislature must balance the interests of all the people , not only maximize revenue from timber harvests. This case has clearly put the responsibility on the Commissioner of Public Lands and the Legislature to resolve the policy differences, balance our interests and find a clear path forward. DNR has the discretion – their hands are no longer ed. We can manage for carbon, for science, for revenues, for all our interests. We literally have some of the most important forests in the world to either mi gate climate disruption or add to it. We shall see if the Commissioner of Public Lands and our elected officials take up the baton the Washington Supreme Court has passed to them and protect these forests.”


Article 16, Sec on 1 of the Washington State Constitution states “all the public lands granted to the state are held in trust for all the people.” Conservation NW et al. v. Commissioner of Public Lands et al. asked the court to interpret this constitutional language to require that the agency must consider both generating revenue and the multitude of other ecological benefits of state forestlands.


Upon Washington’s statehood in 1889, the federal government granted Washington 3 million acres of land through the Enabling Act to be held for the public and to support public institutions, including K-12 school construction and state universities. The Board of Natural Resources (BNR) sets policies for management of state trust lands, and management is carried out by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).


The environmental organizations and individuals in this case were represented by the Ziontz Chestnut law firm and the Washington Forest Law Center.


###


“Keeping the Northwest wild” since 1989, Conservation Northwest is a regional non-profit organization that protects, connects and restores wildlands and wildlife from the Washington Coast to the British Columbia Rockies. Staff operate in local communities and rural areas around Washington and into southern B.C., using dialogue to find common ground and collaborative solutions for challenging issues including habitat corridors, wilderness conservation, forest restoration and endangered species recovery.
The Olympic Forest Coalition (OFCO) promotes the protection, conservation and restoration of natural forest ecosystems and their processes on the Olympic Peninsula. This mission includes monitoring and caring for the public forests, watersheds and bays of the Peninsula. OFCO’s approach integrates science-based solutions that protect and restore natural ecosystems, threatened and endangered species, and healthy rural communities. OFCO incorporates the climate crisis and mitigating its impacts on the Olympic Peninsula as foundational for all of its work.


Washington Environmental Council is a nonprofit, statewide advocacy organization on that has been driving positive change to solve Washington’s most critical environmental challenges since 1967. Our mission is to protect, restore, and sustain Washington’s environment for all.


Commissioner Franz Statement in Response to Washington Supreme Court Ruling

OLYMPIA – Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, head of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), released the following statement in response to the Washington Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in Conservation Northwest, et al. v. Commissioner of Public Lands et al., regarding the interpretation of the state Constitution’s policy on management of state trust lands:

“I believe strongly in our mission to protect public lands, support healthy forests, and provide essential benefits to the people of Washington.

“Today’s ruling affirms DNR’s position that it has discretion under the constitutional and legislative mandate to manage public lands on behalf of the communities we serve and ensure our public lands are providing the greatest environmental, social, and economic good.

“I also recognize that in the face of a rapidly changing climate, we must do everything we can to safeguard public lands and protect our forests. This is why DNR has made climate resilience and long-term sustainable land use a core part of our work, including being a nationwide leader in efforts to restore forest health and conserve forestland and critical habitat across our state.

“I look forward to our continued work to ensure Washington state’s public lands are healthy, support our communities, and are protected for generations to come.”

A farewell to Bob Campbell

From our friends at the Feiro Marine Life Center in PA. I agree, Bob was a wonderful human being. Sad to see him gone, though I haven’t seen him in a few years.

Please note that Feiro will be closed on Sunday, July 24 so that staff and volunteers will be able to attend Bob Campbell’s Celebration of Life.

He will be celebrated at 2:00pm at Studio Bob, 118 1/2 East Front Street, Port Angeles, with refreshments and socializing to follow.

Bob was a wonderful human with a deep passion for our ocean and a commitment to mentoring young humans. He was Feiro’s Facilities Director from 2003-2016. We miss him every day.

How Indigenous Sea Gardens Produced Massive Amounts of Food for Millennia -Hakai

By focusing on reciprocity and the common good—both for the community and the environment—sea gardening created bountiful food without putting populations at risk of collapse.

https://hakaimagazine.com/news/how-indigenous-sea-gardens-produced-massive-amounts-of-food-for-millennia/

The frustrating, baffling Mr. Biden

As long time readers know, I rarely venture into specific politics in Washington D.C., but after the defeats of the Democrats on environmental issues by zero support of Republicans under the leadership of Mitch McConnell, and the lack of any support by Senator Manchin to fix the deadlock on any substantial climate change issue, I’m acted to move by a morning headline.

The New York Times is reporting this morning that President Biden was willing to make a “collegial deal” with Senator McConnell to nominate a judge to the Federal Bench. The Times reported, “The White House quietly agreed with the Senate Republican leader to nominate Chad Meredith for a federal judgeship, but opposition from his fellow Kentuckian Rand Paul scuttled the deal.”

To be clear, Mr. Meredith is a staunch anti-abortion advocate, and a member of the Federalist Society, with other Supreme Court right wing judges. This right wing society is focused on overturning many of the issues that Democrats hold dear including environmental issues. In 2019, The Washington Post Magazine wrote that the Federalist Society had reached an “unprecedented peak of power and influence.” Of the current nine members of the Supreme Court of the United States, six are current or former members of the organization (Brett KavanaughNeil GorsuchClarence ThomasJohn RobertsSamuel Alito, and Amy Coney Barrett). Politico wrote that the Federalist Society “has become one of the most influential legal organizations in history—not only shaping law students’ thinking but changing American society itself by deliberately, diligently shifting the country’s judiciary to the right.” Additionally, these same Supreme Court judges are responsible for rolling back the power of the EPA to protect our air and water exactly at the time we need it to do that more than ever.

After years of having Senator McConnell work to stop anything being done in the Senate by President Obama, and now President Biden, including unprecedented holding up of Supreme Court nominees, to hear that President Biden was somehow working to be collegial to this ruthless political animal simply is mind bending. It appears that Biden just still, doesn’t get it. What kind of “personal favor” as the White House stated, was behind this? Why not ask for something from McConnell for this nomination, or simply state the obvious, “given what you have done to Democratic nominations and bills over the last 15 years, Mitch, you deserve nothing from us until you start working with us to pass legislation that is meaningful.”

I have talked to 30 somethings recently about voting on environmental and abortion issues, and the depressing truth is I’ve heard how disenfranchised they feel about both parties. It is not working to try and tell them how important an issue is, when they feel that both parties are working against their interests, and this kind of “old school” Senate behavior is simply reinforcing it. I predict there is not much chance Biden will be re-elected, if he chooses to run and if he gets out of the primaries.

The earth environmental crisis needs fighters, politicians who can get things done, or make the opposition pay a price for their insistence on not negotiating. We do not need milk toast middle of the road old school pols who take stances like this.

EVENT: Sierra Club Meeting – July 21

Meet Olympic Peninsula Environmental Champions Protecting Forests
Join Us in a Conversation on July 21, 7PM via Zoom, RSVP Required


Guest Speakers: Connie Gallant, President, and Patricia Jones, Executive Director, Olympic Forest Coalition (OFCO), and Tim McNulty, Vice President, Olympic Park AdvocatesOlympic Park Advocates is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit citizens conservation organization working to protect the beauty, integrity and biological diversity of Olympic National Park and the Olympic ecosystem.  OPA was founded in 1948 to defend the Park against attacks on its spectacular old-growth rain forest valleys. Seven decades later, it continues to work doggedly for increased protection for the Olympics.

The Olympic Forest Coalition (OFCO) promotes the protection, conservation and restoration of natural forest ecosystems and their processes on the Olympic Peninsula. This mission includes monitoring and caring for the rivers, streams and nearshore habitats of the Peninsula to ensure healthy populations of salmon and other wildlife, including threatened and declining species such as the Marbled Murrelet.  OFCO has been a major proponent of the Wild Olympics Campaign to increase protected wilderness on the Peninsula.

RSVP Here:   https://act.sierraclub.org/events/details?formcampaignid=7013q000002GME6AAO
Darlene Schanfalddarlenes@olympus.net

Michael Adams Walks On

Michael Adams was a shellfish farmer, scientist, computer programmer, photographer and long-time member and chair of the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee. He passed away on July 4th after a long struggle with health issues. He is remembered as a man who lived his passions, brought intense research to his discussions and was always a fun person to talk. There is so much more, but we will wait on a longer obit that will be coming from his family. Personally, I always enjoyed the long phone conversations we had after he left the MRC for his shellfish farm. Michael had a very unique perspective on protecting the environment. He was one of a dwindling number of people who would fight for protection as well as restoration. He will be sorely missed by all that knew him.

A memorial will probably be held in August or September.

Supreme Court threw a ‘punch to the gut,’ PNW Native leaders say – Seattle Times

If you don’t believe that it matters who you voted for, think again. More outrageous behavior from the team of right-wing radicals currently running the highest court in our land. Are Treaty Rights next?


Native leaders and Indigenous rights lawyers in the Puget Sound region and beyond are raising the alarm about a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, saying it threatens tribal sovereignty with regard to criminal prosecutions and beyond. Some local tribes are still digesting the June 29 ruling that deals with state power over Native lands, while others are calling it a blow to centuries of legal history and tradition. Daniel Beekman and Omar Shaikh Rashad report. (Seattle Times)

Supreme Court threw a ‘punch to the gut,’ PNW Native leaders say | The Seattle Times

Job Opening: Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

Position Description: Enviro. Education & Stewardship Specialist. The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary AmeriCorps member will support education and outreach for Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, including planning, implementing and evaluating K-12 ocean science education programs based on Ocean Literacy Principles and best practices for NOAA B-WET “meaningful watershed educational experiences”.

AmeriCorps members will also assist sanctuary staff, in partnership with Washington CoastSavers, to plan and coordinate beach cleanups. Additionally, members will conduct public outreach with local service and interest groups and at prioritized community events such as Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival, Beachcombers Fun Fair, Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival and regional career fairs.

The position is based out of Port Angeles, WA, and will take place from Oct 2022 – Aug 2023.

Apply at:

https://my.americorps.gov/mp/listing/viewListing.do?id=74731&fromSearch=true

Lamprey legacy: Eel-like fish return after dam removal – Salish Sea Currents

Christopher Dunagan concludes his excellent series on the return of the Elwha River.

Prehistoric-looking lamprey are recolonizing parts of the Elwha River that they have not occupied for more than 100 years. Like salmon, the culturally and ecologically important fish also move from saltwater into rivers to spawn. And like salmon, lamprey were devastated by the dams that once blocked their way. We conclude our series ‘Returning home: The Elwha’s genetic legacy.’   

Lamprey legacy: Eel-like fish return after dam removal | Encyclopedia of Puget Sound (eopugetsound.org)

Returning home: The Elwha’s genetic legacy-Salish Sea Currents Magazine

Excellent series by long time Northwest journalist Christopher Dunagan

Following dam removal, migratory salmon have been free to swim into the upper Elwha River for the first time in 100 years. Their actual behaviors and reproductive success may well be driven by changes in their genetic makeup. Our seven-part series ‘Returning home’ examines how the fish are doing and whether the Elwha’s genetic legacy remains intact. 

Salish Sea Currents

Returning home: The Elwha’s genetic legacy | Encyclopedia of Puget Sound (eopugetsound.org)

NWI: Purchase protects Discovery Creek headwaters – PDN and others

A little behind on this news. Congratulations to Northwest Watershed Institute and everyone else who helped pull this off!

Ninety-one acres of forest and streams at the headwaters of Discovery Creek, a major tributary to Dabob Bay in East Jefferson County, have been acquired by Northwest Watershed Institute from Rayonier. The project completes preservation of nearly the entirety of Discovery Creek, which is the second largest freshwater source to Tarboo-Dabob Bay.

PDN & NWI

Microsoft Word – Discovery Ck acquisition May 27 2022.docx (nwwatershed.org)

Greta Thunberg on hope…

Yesterday in England, Greta Thunberg gave a speech to the crowds at the Glastonbury festival. It was reported in The Guardian.

She said it was time for society to start “creating hope” rather than waiting for it to arrive: “Hope is not something that is given to you. It is something you have to earn, to create. It cannot be gained passively from standing by passively and waiting for someone else to do something.

“It is taking action. It is stepping outside your comfort zone. And if a bunch of school kids were able to get millions of people on the streets and start changing their lives, just imagine what we could all do together if we try.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/25/greta-thunberg-makes-surprise-appearance-at-glastonbury-festival?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Navy SEAL use of state parks appears over – Seattle Times – Update

The attempt to turn our state parks into training grounds for the military is over for now. The lack of concern by many citizens, including those in roles who’s charters clearly gave them authority to simply speak out against it, like our Port Commissioners and Marine Resources Committee members back in 2016, showed a lack of will to take a stand when needed. Luckily, others came forward to write the Parks Commissioners and fight it in court. Eventually, organizations like the MRC did come around and issue letters of concern.

Not wanting to rock the boat on issues like this, is no excuse for inaction. Thanks to those who did the right thing to challenge this.

Navy SEAL use of state parks appears over as state declines to appeal judge’s decision

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/navy-seal-use-of-state-parks-appears-over-as-state-declines-to-appeal-judges-decision/

I also received this email today.

“In your Olympic Peninsula Environmental News post today titled “Navy SEAL use of state parks appears over,” you implied that the Jefferson County MRC was silent on the issue of naval special operations training in our State Parks. To the contrary, the MRC did write an advisory letter in January 2021 to the Board of County Commissioners, who forwarded our concerns to the Parks and Recreation Commission. Our letter may be found on the Jefferson MRC website at https://www.jeffersonmrc.org/media/20315/jcmrc_letter-re-navaltraining_1152021-signed.pdf.  It would be helpful if you would correct this for the record in your newsletter.

I’m happy to hear that the Jefferson MRC finally did take a stand on this issue. I was a member of the MRC from 2010 to 2019, and during the time of my being chair and beyond, I did attempt to raise this issue and seek a letter taking a stand. At that time, with the membership it had, there was no interest in doing that. Now, with a somewhat different set of members, it appears that they have accomplished it. I am supportive of the MRC following it’s charter to seek to protect the waters and shoreline of Jefferson County.

Quilcene & Dabob Bays closed for shellfish harvest

Port Townsend, WA. Recent shellfish samples taken from Quilcene Bay contained elevated levels of the marine biotoxin that causes Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP). As a result, the Washington State Department of Health has closed Quilcene Bay and Dabob Bay beaches for recreational shellfish harvest for all shellfish species. Danger signs have been posted at public access points warning people not to consume shellfish from these areas. Other Hood Canal waters outside of Quilcene Bay and Dabob Bay remain under a Vibrio warning to cook all shellfish to an internal temperature of 145°F for 15 seconds.

Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) can cause gastrointestinal illness. Illness is caused by eating shellfish contaminated with toxins from the naturally occurring marine plankton Dinophysis.

Diarrhetic Shellfish Poison toxin isn’t destroyed by cooking or freezing. Symptoms of DSP include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. The onset of symptoms can range from thirty minutes to four hours after consumption. If mild symptoms occur, call your health care provider and Jefferson County Public Health. For severe reactions call 911. Additional information regarding DSP can be found at www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/Shellfish/RecreationalShellfish/Illnesses/Biotoxins/DiarrheticShellfishPoisoning.

To find out which areas are safe to harvest shellfish in Washington, check the map at doh.wa.gov/ShellfishSafety or call the Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632. For the latest information on regulations and seasons, visit the Fish and Wildlife website at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing or call the Shellfish Rule Change Hotline at 1-866-880-5431.

Pleasant Harbor opponents ask State AG and Federal Consumer Protection Bureau for investigation into sales activities

Since 2006 a Master Planned Residential Resort (MPR) has been in the planning stage by the Canadian Stateman Group, on what is known as Black Point in southern Jefferson County along the Hood Canal. The MPR, 15 miles south of the Hood Canal Bridge, was proposed as an approximate 256-acre destination resort with golf course. The county granted (against much opposition) a land use designation in 2008, and in 2018 approved new zoning and a “Development Agreement”. Despite the go ahead from the county, the Statesman Group has only recently logged the land and has now been marketing the not yet built development. The Brinnon Group, which was formed in opposition to the proposed development, has now asked the State Attorney General and Federal Consumer Protection Bureau to investigate the sales and marketing efforts.

Black Point aka Pleasant Harbor Master Planned Residential Resort – left and center of Peninsula stretching over to marina on upper right. Logged area for golf course can be seen in mid center. Photo courtesy of The Brinnon Group.

The Brinnon Group points out several points of concern.

The county amended their development agreement with Statesman under court order, due to an appeal by Statesman of the original zoning and agreement. The amendment required each phase of development to “contain adequate infrastructure, open space, recreational facilities, landscaping” and other conditions “to stand alone if no subsequent phases are developed.”

Further, the Development Agreement requires ten features of combined infrastructure and resort/recreational amenities be developed before residential units can be built and sold. However, as of this date, none of these infrastructure/amenities have been constructed; the Brinnon Group state that no permit applications have even been filed for necessary features of Phase 1 of the proposal. No water/sewer district has been formed and no sewer treatment plant or water system has been permitted, constructed or installed. No permits have been filed for construction of the staff quarters. No road system has been constructed and no improvements made to the intersection of Black Point Road and Highway 101, the only entrance to the project.

The ten features the agreement states for Phase 1 “required that substantial resort infrastructure and recreational facilities be constructed as follows:

  • Clearing and construction of the golf course.
  • Construction of the road network.
  • Road improvements at Highway 101 and Black Point Road.
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  • Water Storage Tank and distribution piping.
  • Sanitary Sewer Pump Stations.
  • Begin Implementation of Vegetation Management Plan.
  • Construction of Community/Recreation Center, with 208 short term hotel rooms, spa services, pool, water slides, commercial space and sports courts.
  • Construct residential units with 52 units of staff quarters for those working at the facility.
  • Form a water and sewer district.”
    • Only if these amenities and infrastructure elements are completed can the developer construct and sell approximately 252 units of residential housing.
    • As of this month, according to the Brinnon Group’s letter, none of these infrastructure/amenities have been constructed. (emphasis in original email from Brinnon Group.)
  • Additionally, the planned 208 room hotel, complete with premised water slides, spa services, commercial space and sports courts is not constructed, and no building permit applications have been filed.
  • The only progress on Phase 1 is logging (and timber sale) for golf course fairway areas
  • Construction of any sewer and water facilities requires approval of the State Department of Health (DOH). Though application materials were sent to DOH, they were incomplete, as described in a letter from DOH dated September 22, 2020. A recent inquiry to DOH by the Brinnon Group shows no additional material submitted by Statesman.
  • The Brinnon group points out that despite the issues listed above, the Statesman Group have begun marketing efforts.
    • They have constructed a web site.
    • They have put a 6 minute sales video out.
    • Sent out a mass mailer in the Seattle area.

The Brinnon Group points out that both the website and the “Seattle Signal” mass mailing contain multiple inaccuracies and statements which are not – and will not be – accurate within any reasonable time. The five numbered items in the mailing,  “Vista Lots, Sea View Villas, Terraced Lofts, the Inn by the Sea and the Maritime Village” are all described for purchase or lease real estate interests. There is no indication, according to the Brinnon Group,  that these facilities are permitted or constructed, and the brochure does not explain the ten elements of Phase 1 of the PHMPR that must be constructed before the real estate interests can be sold. There is apparently no opportunity offered for prospective buyers to inspect the property.

Additionally, the marketing mailing states that, “While some are golfing or enjoying REJUV-Health, others benefit from the Recreation Center’s indoor pools, skating and hockey rink, indoor soccer, racquetball and numerous training facilities for league sport, as well as the Family Fun Center,”  

However, this recreation center is not constructed and there are apparently no permit applications with Jefferson County, nor even basic plans for the facility, according to the Brinnon Group letter.

The website claimed that “Our Health Center includes an approved surgical operatory for various endoscopic day procedures such as those related to ear-nose-throat procedures, general surgeries, plastic surgery plus urology & gynecology and minor orthopedic procedures.” The Brinnon Group could find no plans nor permits for construction of such a facility.

The Brinnon Group goes on to state, “Even Phase 1 of the PHMPR involves a very expensive proposal with a multi-year permitting and construction program. However, substantially no progress has been made on moving this project forward in the three years since the Development Agreement was approved, after modifications required by the Superior Court. There is every indication that Statesman lacks the financial wherewithal to complete this venture, much less even initiate it.”

A question also is raised by the Brinnon Group as to whether the Statesman Group has the financial resources needed to build this development. Their concern comes from a 2016 proposal made by the Statesman Group that said, “In order to finance this community resource, Pleasant Harbor Marina & Golf Resort LLP (PHM) will be seeking County and State of Washington support, where the stakeholders would all benefit from the increased attraction in the community.”

The proposal included requesting a $2,000,000 grant from Jefferson County and a $9,250,000 grant from the State of Washington from “the Washington State Utility Trust, a Recreational Community Grant . . .” Statesman further proposed that the State “would sponsor through the Federal Government a Tax Exempt Municipal Improvement Bond for $26.5 million dollars at a loan to PHM.” Given the non-existent financial arrangements proposed, neither the State nor Jefferson County advanced any funds, much less the $37,750,000 requested. Indeed, Statesman asked local governments in British Columbia to provide similar financial support in the amount of about $40 million for the recreational center at its Pine Ridge resort, which unsurprisingly was declined by Canadian officials.

The Brinnon Group concludes in their letter, “Statesman, though creating the PHMPR in name, has made no progress toward the completion of facilities necessary to meet the standards of a Master Planned resort, even the basics of water and sewer services. It appears that Statesman lacks the financial resources even to build the infrastructure and amenities required by its Development Agreement. This however does not deter Statesman from wild promises and misrepresentations concerning its proposal, as found in its promotional materials and advertising, all in an apparent attempt to solicit sales of real estate interests in this proposal. The mismatch between development reality and description provided in the promotional materials is substantial. The partial development of an underfunded and half-finished resort has consequences for the community. In summary, the Brinnon Group requests that there be a full investigation of the public solicitation for the sale of interests in the Pleasant Harbor MPR and appropriate actions taken.”

We will continue to follow this story as it unfolds.

Are yelloweye rockfish on the path to recovery? -Salish Sea Currents

More good news on one species of rockfish recovery.

“If this is real — and this is based on the most robust model we have with the best available science — then we are very optimistic,” says Lowry. 

https://www.eopugetsound.org/magazine/yelloweye-rockfish-recovery

EVENT: Smokescreen: Debunking Wildfire Myths to Save Our Forests and Our Climate 

Sierra Club North Olympic Group’s June Presentation (Online only)
Dr. Chad T. Hanson Research Ecologist and Author Thursday, June 16, 7PM  

RSVP:  https://act.sierraclub.org/events/details?formcampaignid=7013q000002GriJAAS

Natural fires are as essential as sun and rain in fire-adapted forests, but as humans encroach on wild spaces, fear, arrogance, and greed have shaped the way that people view these regenerative events and have given rise to misinformation. The peril that these myths pose to forests is profound—affecting whole habitats and the wildlife that depend on them. The exploitation of these carbon dioxide-absorbing ecosystems also threatens humanity’s chance of overcoming the climate crisis. 

Dr. Chad Hanson will address these issues and suggest a better, science-based, and more hopeful path forward, as he discusses in his new book, 

Smokescreen: Debunking Wildfire Myths to Save Our Forests and Our Climate 

https://www.kentuckypress.com/9780813181073/smokescreen/

Dr. Hanson is a research ecologist and the director of the John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute, located in Big Bear City, California, and has a Ph.D. in ecology with a research focus on fire ecology in conifer forest ecosystems. He has published dozens of peer-reviewed studies on forest and fire ecology and is also the co-editor and co-author of the 2015 book, The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires: Nature’s Phoenix.

Battle of Dems over forests

Recently two strongly worded Op-Ed pieces ran in the Seattle Times, highlighting a growing rift between the efforts of Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and Democratic Senator Kevin Van de Wege of the Olympic Peninsula. Both Franz and Van de Wege are staunch Democrats, both often attend the local fish fry’s and usually have been seen as being on the same page.

However, in the last months, to highlight Earth Day, Commissioner Franz went out on a limb to lock up forests (also known by the title “Working Forests” for the fact that they are usually cut down at some point) and trade the lock for “carbon offsets” to polluters.

On the face of it, this might seem like an innocuous “good thing” to do. But it appears that Commissioner Franz decided on this for her own reasons, perhaps to gain an opportunity to host President Biden when he was here, and gain a photo op of her and the President Biden on his trip here in April. Her announcement included protection of forests in Whatcom, Thurston, King and Grays Harbor counties. Oddly missing was Clallam and Jefferson Counties, two counties that non-profits working hard to get Franz to save some old growth that is planned on being harvested this summer. Also, it apparently was done with little or no involvement of Senator Van de Wege, who then launched his own scathing Op-Ed piece denouncing Franz move, one he said “…should be effective, measurable and transparent — standards notably ignored in the Washington Department of Natural Resources’ recent decision to set aside more state trust lands as carbon reserves while selling carbon offsets that allow industrial polluters to keep polluting.”

Van de Wege went on, “Whatever actions we take, our climate policies should be effective, measurable and transparent — standards notably ignored in the Washington Department of Natural Resources’ recent decision to set aside more state trust lands as carbon reserves while selling carbon offsets that allow industrial polluters to keep polluting.

“…DNR adopted this fundamental change of course in state policy without honoring traditional safeguards such as thorough analyses, public hearings and oversight by the state Legislature or Board of Natural Resources.

“While in the past DNR has acknowledged that the sale, exchange or purchase of trust lands must be approved by the Board of Natural Resources, in this case the agency has notably declined to commit to honoring the board’s oversight. At best, DNR has offered only vague promises of “engagement” to some undefined and uncertain degree.

He finished by saying, “Did DNR adequately analyze the impact of unintended consequences from its proposed carbon lease? Reducing the responsible timber harvest in Washington state will decrease our state’s capacity to produce wood products, leading to an increase in carbon-emitting imports from places that do not sustainably manage their forests, or the substitution of concrete and steel, both of which are significant contributors to carbon emissions.

“Until these troubling questions are answered, the state should not proceed with a carbon reserve policy that may be neither effective, measurable nor transparent while undermining well-established practices that combat climate change and support rural communities.”

This blog has been highly critical of Ms. Franz approach to her leasing the Dungeness Spit to a commercial aquaculture farm, over the objections of numerous significant environmental concerns raised by everyone from the Dungeness Spit Wildlife Refuge manager to a number of scientists and environmental organizations. As reported here before, she denied to this reporter in front of a crowd of democratic funders any knowledge of the leasing of the Spit though her signature was affixed to the document. This new initiative seems poorly thought out and even more poorly communicated within her own party.

Ms Franz, it has been rumored in Democratic circles for years, has had her eye on the Governorship. While she is clearly running for future office on her work on fighting fires in Washington State, she might worry a bit more about the political fires she herself is starting on the Olympic Peninsula. Senator Van de Wege is a powerful force in our state politics, especially for holding onto a very conservative district like Clallam County. He is known as an environmental champion, having been given that honor years ago by People For Puget Sound for his efforts to both support ending fire retardants use in industry and his support for the rescue tug at Neah Bay, which has saved many ships over the years. His Op-Ed clearly shows she has angered him, and it’s going to be very hard for her to mend that fence.

Read the whole Op-Ed by Senator Van De Wege here:

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/lack-of-transparency-clouds-management-of-trust-lands/

Read Commissioner Franz’ reply here:

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/we-must-stop-fighting-over-our-forests-and-come-together-to-start-fighting-for-our-forests/

For more on DNR’s Carbon Project that has angered Senator Van de Wege…

https://www.dnr.wa.gov/CarbonProject

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