‘It’s the wild west out here’: Gulf Islanders raise alarm over whale-watching fleet sizes – CBC

The situation in the Gulf Islands (and the American side also) is out of control. If Governor Inslee is serious about saving the resident orca pod, then he needs to get this under control, with the help of the B.C. government. He’ll have to override the pressure from the economic engine of the whale watching industry to do anything of value. While it is appreciated that the whale watch industry helps average people come to learn about the whales, it appears we are loving them to death. The population is approaching some kind of unsustainable number and without radical action will likely go extinct. The time for half measures is gone, as their population continues to fall. Some kind of moratorium is likely needed while we re-establish the whales population, if that’s even possible. But expecting Inslee to override them, is likely a tall order.

Some residents of the southern Gulf Islands are worried too many whale watching boats are chasing too few killer whales—stressing the already at-risk species….  Residents report they’ve seen fleets of up to 25 vessels chasing orca pods during the busy summer months when whale watching is at its peak. They say the problem is compounded because there are no regulations to govern the number of whale-watching boats permitted to track killer whales.Eric Rankin reports. (CBC) See also: Whale watchers update guidelines; Canada to restrict salmon fishing  Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

It’s the wild west out here’: Gulf Islanders raise alarm over whale-watching fleet sizes

Battling Scotch broom along Olympic’s Hoh River that threatens fish, forests – Seattle Times

The never ending battle with an invasive species we brought here…..sigh…By the way, I thought that a Times reporter would know better than to end a sentence with a preposition!

….Brought to the United States from the British Isles and central Europe as an ornamental and for erosion control, Scotch broom is a nuisance familiar to anyone in Western Washington, where it chokes pastures, roadsides, fence-lines and any bare ground it can get ahold of. Here along the Hoh River and in other Olympic Peninsula salmon strongholds, it is threatening prime salmon habitat. The plant establishes a monoculture that grows 15 feet in height, and each plant every year can pump out 12,000 seeds viable for up to 90 years. Wiley and tough as wire, Scotch broom quickly occupies new areas, out-competing other plants and preventing normal growth of native species. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/battling-scotch-broom-along-olympics-hoh-river-that-threatens-fish-forests/

Job listing: P/T Program Assistant – Jefferson MRC

 

2018 Program Assistant Job Posting – Temporary, Part-time 

APPOINTMENT:   July 1 – Nov. 30, 2018.  Total of 325 hours over 5 months. 

ORGANIZATION/LOCATION:   Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee (MRC), based at the WSU Extension Office, 121 Oak Bay Rd, Port Hadlock, WA  98339  

SALARY:   $20.00/hour, no benefits. Workdays and times will vary.  

JOB DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:  This person will assist the MRC in bringing stormwater-related educational programs and activities to 3-5 communities or neighborhoods in Jefferson County.   

TASKS:  The Program Assistant will:  

  • Write and submit short articles on stormwater management and rain gardens for community/neighborhood newsletters 
  • Work with each community association’s board or designated committee to plan and implement at least one action-based program 
  • Establish a mechanism for disseminating and managing short-term community incentive programs that would encourage participation and collaboration 
  • Submit press releases to the Peninsula Daily News, Port Townsend Leader newspapers, and other local news outlets 
  • Utilize social media to disseminate announcements, invitations to participate, and project news 
  • Work with volunteers to assemble public outreach table displays and provide staffing for selected community events 
  • Share written materials with 2 other MRCs 

 

SUPERVISED BY:  Bob Simmons (WSU Extension) and Cheryl Lowe (MRC Coordinator) 

 

QUALIFICATIONS:  

The successful applicant will be self-directed and motivated; able to work independently; and have strong organizational skills. S/he must have a demonstrated ability to communicate effectively (verbally and in writing) with diverse audiences; be familiar with online technology including website updates and social media tools: and have experience working with volunteers. Some knowledge of stormwater issues and/or experience with environmental education is preferred.  

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:  

  • The applicant must be at least 18 years old and have completed at least one year of post-secondary coursework.  
  • Successful completion of a background check.  
  • Possess a valid WA driver’s license and have reliable transportation with current automobile liability insurance. 

APPLICATION & DEADLINE:  

Submit a letter of intent and resume to the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee at Cheryl.lowe@wsu.edu . 

 

Deadline for submitting application is June 7, 2018. 

 

In your letter of intent, please answer the following questions:  

  • Why do you want to be an MRC Program Assistant?  
  • How do you see yourself contributing to the stormwater management effort through this position?  
  • What skills do you have that will be particularly useful for this position?  
  • How does this position fit into your future plans?  
  • How do you think you will benefit from this position?  

A selection committee will review the submitted materials and contact qualified applicants to schedule interviews, tentatively scheduled for June 14-15. Hiring decisions will be made within the following 2 weeks.   

 

Lawsuit seeks more review of projects that ‘armor’ Puget Sound shoreline – Seattle Times

Good independent overview of the lawsuit filed yesterday  by Sound Action, Friends of the San Juans and Washington Environmental Council (WEC).

Restoring the natural shoreline at the Elwha River where it meets the sea is part of an ongoing battle to heal Puget Sound — along with a lawsuit to achieve better environmental review of new shoreline projects.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/lawsuit-seeks-more-review-of-projects-that-armor-puget-sound-shoreline/?utm_source=marketingcloud&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Morning+Brief+5-22-18_5_22_2018

Groups Challenge Army Corps of Engineers’ Refusal to Protect Puget Sound Shorelines

Corps’ Seattle District violates Clean Water Act, endangers Sound recovery
May 21, 2018

Seattle, WA —A lawsuit filed today against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) charges that the agency has refused to assert its Clean Water Act jurisdiction over most shoreline armoring in Puget Sound, and that endangered species and Sound shorelines are suffering the negative impacts of the Corps’ continued inaction.

Washington Environmental Council, Sound Action and Friends of the San Juans filed the suit after the Corps rejected a science-based government recommendation to correct its unlawful definition of the Seattle District Corps’ jurisdiction over shoreline armoring projects.

The coalition, represented by Earthjustice, is calling for federal oversight of shoreline armoring by raising what the Corps’ Seattle District considers the “high tide line” in order to better protect at-risk species and the shorelines themselves. The lawsuit also calls for a response to the groups’ 2015 petition asking for jurisdictional decisions on four shoreline armoring projects. The groups contend a strong federal policy to protect shorelines is critical to Puget Sound recovery.

“Shoreline armoring impairs the health of Puget Sound by damaging nearshore habitat important for forage fish that feed salmon,” said Mindy Roberts, Puget Sound director for Washington Environmental Council. “Currently, federal agencies don’t consider impacts from these structures, because their definition of what constitutes ‘the shoreline’ is too lax.”

Background

Armoring is the placement of hard structures — boulders, jetties, seawalls — on shorelines to help prevent erosion. The Corps is required by law to review proposed armoring projects up to the “high tide line,” which is generally the line at which land meets the water. But the Corps’ Seattle District uses a much lower tidal marker (known as the “mean higher high water” mark). As a result, the Seattle District does not review the majority of armoring projects in Puget Sound.

The Corps’ failure to assert jurisdiction means there has been no federal oversight of whether most armoring projects in the Sound meet the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act or any other federal requirement.

Further, the Corps recently rejected an interagency recommendation to use a higher tidal marker, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, which prohibits arbitrary and capricious agency actions. In rejecting the recommendation, the Corps ignored sound science and the law.

“The Corps has known for years that its high tide line marker in Puget Sound is unlawfully low,” said Anna Sewell, Earthjustice attorney for the plaintiffs. “But the Corps put its head in the sand and rejected a science-based recommendation from three regional federal agencies — including the Seattle District Corps itself — to protect 8,600 acres of shoreline area by raising that marker.”

This troubling lack of federal support puts Puget Sound shorelines at risk of further deterioration, particularly when shoreline armoring is well documented to be one of the most significant risks to the Sound.

“Puget Sound is already on the brink of collapse due to continued habitat loss, and it’s critical that the laws put in place to protect nearshore ecosystems are both followed and enforced,” said Sound Action Executive Director Amy Carey. “Unless we act now, the forage fish, the salmon and the orcas that are so desperately struggling to survive will be lost forever. It’s up to all of us to ensure this doesn’t happen — and it starts by holding the permitting agencies accountable for doing their jobs.”

“By disavowing its statutory authority, the Corps has shielded harmful projects from a review of their impacts on critically endangered and culturally vital Northwest species,” added Kyle Loring, staff attorney, Friends of the San Juans. “Its high-tide interpretation also leaves state and local governments on their own, at a time when our publicly-funded agencies should be working together to do everything in their power to protect what remains of our region’s rich heritage.”

The Corps must respond to the lawsuit within 60 days.

Reporter Resource

Read the brief.

State denies request to move juvenile Atlantic salmon to Bainbridge net pens -AP & various

Well, this is likely the end of the line for Atlantic net pen raised salmon in Puget Sound. Good news for wild fish and the benthic layer in those locations.

Washington state fish managers have denied a request by Cooke Aquaculture to move thousands of juvenile Atlantic salmon from its hatchery to marine net pens in Kitsap County. The Department of Fish and Wildlife said Thursday it rejected the company’s application because the move would increase the risk of fish disease transmission both within and outside the pens…. Tests taken from samples of fish that would have been transported showed they had a form of the fish virus PRV that has not been known to occur in Washington waters. WDFW fish health manager Ken Warheit called it an “exotic strain” that differs from the variety that had been present in the eastern Pacific Ocean, creating an “unknown risk that made it unacceptable.” (Associated Press)

Salmon spawn fierce debate over protecting endangered species, thanks to a single gene-Science Magazine

interesting news…big possible impacts for dam removal projects.

…Researchers had concluded that the Klamath’s spring-run Chinook are genetically similar to fall-run Chinook.

New research findings, however, are forcing scientists and federal officials to revisit that decision. In 2017, researchers announced that they’d identified a single gene that appears to control whether Chinook salmon, as well as steelhead, a closely related species of rainbow trout, migrate upriver before or after reaching sexual maturity. They concluded that the genetic change that produced spring-run Chinook occurred only once in the species’s history.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/05/salmon-spawn-fierce-debate-over-protecting-endangered-species-thanks-single-gene

%d bloggers like this: