Earth Day events go online because of virus – Puget Sound Institute

Yes, even Earth Day is now digital.

Canceled! Canceled! Canceled! Participants in this year’s Earth Day activities won’t be rallying in large groups, participating in environmental festivals or coming together to clean up the Earth. On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day — Wednesday of next week — the environmental movement will be uniquely digital, with many people celebrating from their home computers. Chris Dunagan reports. (Puget Sound Institute)

Earth Day events go online because of virus

Canadian Border Restrictions Have Been Exended Another 30 Days

FYI for readers.

The United States and Canada have agreed to keep their shared border closed for nonessential travel for another 30 days to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the extension during a briefing Saturday in Ottawa. The restrictions on the world’s longest frontier took effect on March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. The partial ban was to expire soon, but the neighboring countries have decided it is not safe to allow traffic to fully resume. (NPR)

Canadian Border Restrictions Have Been Extended For Another 30 Days

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

 

Earth Day in Clallam County

Clallam TogetherIn Clallam County, Earth Day is coming to a home, neighborhood, and screen near you.

April 22 will mark the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, and as it approaches, a coalition of community activists, neighborhoods, organizations and businesses in Clallam County are joining as #ClallamTogether to observe “Earth Week” – Monday, April 20 to Sunday, April 26 – in creative ways adapted to the unusual circumstances in which we find ourselves.

The central bulletin board for these activities will be Olympic Climate Action’s website, olyclimate.org, where updates will be continuously posted.

The urgent, evolving challenges of the coronavirus pandemic call on people everywhere to respond to one another and to our shifting circumstances with courage, resolution, ingenuity and open hearts. And though our ways of connecting with one another have shifted, Earth itself remains our constant home, and we are reminded more than ever that we are and will always be intimately connected with it.

Instead of the variety of community events originally planned for Earth Week, we offer a suite of activities people can safely do from home or outdoors on their own or with their family unit, such as:

  • “Challenge of 50s”:  Individuals, groups or families choose an “Act of 50” that supports the healing of our Earth.

 

  • “Life Hacks”:  Submit and view short videos demonstrating simple earth-stewarding actions.

 

  • “Earth-Care Art”: Submit earth-related art to our virtual gallery or participate in a virtual group banner.

 

  • Clallam Tree Alliance offers free shrubs and trees for delivery or pickup, and neighborhood plant/seed sharing is planned.

 

People are also encouraged to create their own activities and promote them to olyclimate@olyclimate.org, to be posted on OCA’s website.

A few events are planned, including:

**April 19:  Ms. Earth Week 2020:  Nominate your earth hero; the winner will receive a SisterLand Farms gift box

**April 22:  Flower bouquets delivered to your earth heroes by volunteers on bicycles (in the Port Angeles area)

**April 22:  Earth Evening bell-ringing, 7 pm.

**April 23:  Webinar on the Border Wall and its violations of environmental laws and human rights, 7 pm

**TBA:  Presentation on connections between the coronavirus and climate change.

 

In Jefferson County, the Local 2020 organization has postponed most of their planned Earth Week efforts, except for an Earth Day beach cleanup; to check on Jefferson County plans, see https://l2020.org/earth2020/.

 

The #ClallamTogether organizing committee includes:

Hilary Powers, Compassion Clallam County

Marilyn O’Neill-Eash, Interfaith Community of Clallam County

Arleen Jenson, SisterLand Farms

Elizabeth Christian, Interfaith Earthcare Coalition

Christeal Milburn, Clallam Tree Alliance

Michael Clemens, Jodi Riverstone, Julia Smith, & Ed Chadd, Olympic Climate Action

Olympic Climate Action

North Olympic Peninsula residents working to stem climate disruption

Washington State, U.S.A.

Territories of the chalá·at (Hoh), kʷoʔlí·yot’ (Quileute), qʷidiččaʔa·tx̌ (Makah), nəxʷsƛ̕áy̕əm̕  (Klallam), & t͡ʃə́mqəm (Chimacum) peoples

New investments save dynamic coastal wetland habitat – Washington DOE

And more good news. State and local partners secure $5 million in federal conservation grants.

The Department of Ecology is delighted to announce we have secured seven National Coastal Wetlands Conservation grants worth more than $5 million. The 2020 federal grants will help our local partners restore and enhance nearly 500 acres of coastal wetlands and 17,500 feet of marine shoreline in Jefferson, Kitsap, Snohomish, Thurston, and Whatcom counties.

Discovery Bay Acquisitions ($713,268)  —working in partnership with Jefferson Land Trust to acquire and conserve 9 acres of critical wetlands and nearshore habitat in Discovery Bay in Jefferson County, including nearly 2,173 feet of Puget Sound shoreline. The project will conserve degraded and filled estuary and nearshore habitat and preserve a rare intact pocket estuary that provides high-functioning salt marsh habitat in the Discovery Bay area.

Tarboo Creek Wetlands Acquisition and Restoration ($508,000) — in close coordination with the Northwest Watershed Institute we will help permanently protect and restore 14.5 acres of wetlands on three adjoining parcels along Tarboo Creek in Jefferson County that drain directly to Tarboo-Dabob Bay and Puget Sound.

Misery Point Habitat Acquisition ($1 million) — this collaborative project with the Great Peninsula Conservancy will preserve 20.7 acres and approximately 3,500 feet of Hood Canal and barrier lagoon shoreline in Kitsap County. The property contains a 1,600-foot sand spit that shelters a 3-acre tidal lagoon, important refuge habitat for juvenile salmon and waterfowl.

https://ecology.wa.gov/Blog/Posts/April-2020/New-investments-save-dynamic-coastal-wetland-habit

New law improves capabilities for drought response and preparedness – Dept of Ecology

Some good news during this bad year.

A bill initiated by the state Department of Ecology to deal with drought, ESB 1622, passed the state legislature in March and was signed by Gov. Inslee on March 27. The new law streamlines the state’s response to drought emergencies. It facilitates interagency cooperation, eases the flow of money from the legislature to the Department of Ecology so it can help alleviate drought-related hardships, and expands the types of projects funded during a drought emergency. The new law also authorizes issuing a “drought advisory warning” ahead of an emergency.

Before this new law, state agencies could help support water users during drought emergencies, but had little authority to provide support before one was declared. Now, when DOE have funds available, they can help water users invest in projects that will build their resiliency to drought conditions and water shortages before the emergency occurs. These projects might include constructing a back-up well for a small community, helping a farmer invest in water conservation measures, or constructing emergency water intakes for fish hatcheries and rescuing stranded fish.

Under authority provided by the new law, DOE also will explore a creative way to lease water rights during times of drought. In past drought years, DOE would lease water rights from water users who could forgo using their water to keep it instream for fish. The challenge, however, was finding water rights to lease during a drought. The few rights that were available were expensive.

DOE will launch a pilot program to explore entering into long-term water right leases. These leases will be negotiated ahead of time and could last for up to four years. If a drought were declared during that period, DOE could “activate” the agreement and lease the water for a pre-determined price. These long-term leases will act almost as insurance, providing certainty to both water users and the state. This is a tool that’s been lauded by experts, but only tried in a few places. DOE is excited to lead the country in exploring this innovative tool.

(Dept of Ecology)

A state drought law is passed

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

 

Seafood Industry struggling to stay afloat amid outbreak – AP

Seafood industry struggling to stay afloat amid outbreak
The seafood industry has been upended by the spread of the coronavirus, which has halted sales in restaurants and sent fishermen and dealers scrambling for new markets. Seafood is a global industry that relies on a complex network of fishermen, processors, buyers and distributors, all of which have been affected by the virus. A lack of demand has sent prices tumbling and led some fishermen to tie up their boats until the outbreak subsides. Patrick Whittle reports. (Associated Press) See also: Coronavirus Devastates Geoduck Industry  Sara Thompson reports. (Key Peninsula News)

Oil Companies Are Collapsing Due to Coronavirus, but Wind and Solar Energy Keep Growing (Reuters)

More good news on the renewable front.
A few years ago, the kind of double-digit drop in oil and gas prices the world is experiencing now because of the coronavirus pandemic might have increased the use of fossil fuels and hurt renewable energy sources like wind and solar farms. That is not happening. In fact, renewable energy sources are set to account for nearly 21 percent of the electricity the United States uses for the first time this year, up from about 18 percent last year and 10 percent in 2010, according to one forecast published last week. And while work on some solar and wind projects has been delayed by the outbreak, industry executives and analysts expect the renewable business to continue growing in 2020 and next year even as oil, gas and coal companies struggle financially or seek bankruptcy protection. Ivan Penn reports. (NY Times) See also: Renewable energy wins over oil and gas in post-coronavirus world Clyde Russell writes. (Reuters)

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.

 

Mussels fetched from Kitsap waters give insight into contamination – Kitsap Sun

For many years Mussel Watch has been the method by which we have been able to monitor the water quality  throughout Puget Sound by  looking at the contaminants in our shellfish. During my time on the Jefferson County Marine Resources committee we petitioned and got a muscle watch station in Discovery Bay and other locations during the cycle that ended in 2017.

Work being done by this program is absolutely critical in understanding both where we are now and whether or not we’re making progress in making the waters of the Salish Sea cleaner. The findings are concerning, and should be of particular concern to feeding large amounts of shellfish to children. Much more research needs to be done to better understand what the levels found in these results actually mean to long term ingestion of them.

“Results from the last cycle — in 2017 — showed that Puget Sound has particles from fuel and laundry detergent, and 100% of sites tested showed a presence of antibiotics used for livestock. All sites also tested positive for antidepressant medication, said Mariko Langness, WDFW fish and wildlife biologist.”

Kitsap Sun

https://www.kitsapsun.com/story/news/2020/03/04/mussels-fetched-kitsap-waters-give-insight-into-contamination/4925353002/

 

Geek out! PA event! March 14th 10-4

Geek out

Kid-Friendly Family Fun

On March 14, Feiro Marine Life Center will again host the free, community-oriented Science & Technology Celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. People of all ages and interests are invited to engage with scientists at booths and during presentations, and examine infographic posters that provide examples of how science works to contribute to our communities and our quality of life. Kids of all ages will enjoy displays, games, and activities specially geared to make science fun.
“Science on Display” is back this year. This display honors the broad spectrum of retired and active scientists and science educators living or working across the north Olympic Peninsula. From each profile, learn what inspired him or her to pursue a chosen field. Discover the science education, applied science, and interesting research conducted right here on the Peninsula, thus putting a face from the community on science in the community.

Why celebrate science?
Because science helps us understand hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes and how to capture, store, and use power from the sun. Science has shown us that it’s important to wash our hands and to cover our mouths when we sneeze. We use science to heat our homes, grow our food, and predict the weather. Science is everywhere, everyday.

GeekOut! is a self-sustained community event sponsored annually by Feiro Marine Life Center. Support for this event is provided from across the north Olympic Peninsula by volunteers who are members of grassroot organizations and groups, as well as residents and friends who annually volunteer in the Corn Booth during the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend. Some of these same volunteers fostered this local celebration in 2017 with a shared mission to celebrate the essential role science and technology plays in all our daily lives.

Group asks for injunction regarding Growler flights – Skagit Valley Herald

Again, the Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve and the State of Washington go to court to try and stop the increasingly annoying and likely health adverse Navy practice flights on Coupeville. Our federal representatives, like Derek Kilmer have been ineffective at slowing the growth of this nuisance.  Let’s hope the courts see fit to reign this in. The surrounding communities both on Whidbey Island, Jefferson County and the San Juans would like to see this moved elsewhere. According to the COER there has been a fourfold increase in flights in the area. Thanks goes to AG Bob Ferguson for taking a stand on this and seeing what the courts say.

The Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve (COER) is asking a federal judge to require the Navy to roll back the number of EA-18G Growler practice flights at Outlying Field Coupeville to pre-2019 levels until a lawsuit over the number of Growler flights is settled.

Skagit Valley Herald Article

Article will open in a new tab on your browser.

Judge voids nearly 1 million acres of oil and gas leases, saying Trump policy undercut public input – Washington Post

Again we see the importance of the courts in staving off the attacks against the environment by the current administration. If you ever thought that your vote doesn’t matter, remember, you are also electing judges that are appointed by the administration of the time. Not voting because your favorite candidate doesn’t get chosen is a foolish move that actually works against the environment and your own self interests.

Here we see a Federal judge in Idaho legally rule on what we all thought all along, that the administrations 30 day feedback window on giving away millions of acres to oil and gas companies was arbitrary and capricious.

Here’s the whole story.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2020/02/27/judge-voids-nearly-1-million-acres-oil-gas-leases-saying-trump-policy-undercut-public-input/

 

For first time in 20 years, feds take deep look at hydroelectric dam removal on Lower Snake River -Seattle Times

Today is the day that the Feds are going to be releasing the first serious draft EIS of dam operations on the Snake in 20 years. It’s amazing that we are seeing a small bit of traction in looking into the possibility of removing dam removal on the Snake. As the article points out, the BPA has struggled to be financially viable as solar and other sources of energy has surged. One analysis I saw from supporters of the dam removal (technically breaching the dam), said that the BPA loses money with every kilowatt is sells. Given the urgency of getting more salmon to our dwindling orcas, breaching the dams would be the fastest way to get the most salmon to the ocean.

As the article also points out, since the last time the Feds looked at this issue, in 2000, more than a dozen runs have remained near or at extinction levels. There is little time left to do something that can change this scenario.

The Governor of Oregon has taken a stand on supporting the breaching of the dams, and has urged Governor Inslee to do the same. There is a strong alliance of businesses that oppose it. I might remind readers that the same thing happened with the Elwha dam removal. However, with so much industry relying on the dams, the likelihood of a quick solution to this is pretty slim.

Thanks to the Seattle Times for reporting on this.

 

Seattle Times Story on Dam Removal

SSB 6147 in committee today. Bulkhead bill.

The bulkhead bill, SSB 6147 has an important vote in the House Rural Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Friday, February 28th.


SSB 6147 establishes a process where replacement shoreline armoring would be required to consider using the least impacting shoreline protection technique — for example, using woody debris and natural green armoring rather than hard concrete.

I have documented the benefits of green armoring. If you want to see a short 2 minute video about a group of homeowners in Dungeness Bay who have benefited from green armoring over bulkheads and riprap, check this out. Won’t take much of your time. And if you feel like supporting this bill, call or write today to Representatives Chapman and Tharinger, along with Senator Kevin Van de Wege.

https://vimeo.com/68577147

New Jefferson County Shooting Range Ordinances Passed

From the Tarboo Ridge Coalition today

The Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners unanimously passed two new shooting range ordinances at the conclusion of 5 hours of deliberations during their meeting on Monday, February 24. The new ordinances are vastly different than the 2018 versions which the Growth Management Hearings Board invalidated in early 2019.

The BoCC followed their Planning Commission’s recommendations that all new commercial shooting ranges be located indoors in commercial and industrial zones and not be allowed in Jefferson County forests. The commissioners carefully scrutinized the proposed ordinances to clarify language and eliminate previous loopholes that had been exploited by Fort Discovery Corporation in 2018 when the company began building an outdoor paramilitary training center at Tarboo Lake without environmental review or obtaining permits.

The Tarboo Ridge Coalition, which appealed the 2018 ordinances, will meet with the County and the Growth Management Hearings Board in late March to discuss whether the current effort complies with the Washington State’s Growth Management Act.

Lawmakers want to protect water rights in Washington from Wall Street speculation – Investigate West

This issue could be a huge problem. Water rights are already extremely contentious. Now we have to worry about Wall St. bankers and investors owning them. Get behind these bills and let your legislators know you support them!


Worries that moneyed interests could control Washington’s water have sparked a push in Olympia to cut Wall Street bankers and international investors out of the state’s convoluted water rights system. Competing bills introduced during this legislative session take aim at the state’s water banks, which collect untapped water rights and sell water to users in need. Although the proposed legislation has received only tepid support, a consensus is emerging that action is needed to keep speculators from using water banking, as one state senator puts it, to “strangle” Washingtonians. Water banks collect water rights from rural landowners who have permission to take more water than they need. The banks then sell access to water to customers whose water rights are either too new or too small to meet their needs. Levi Pulkkinen reports. (Investigate West)

Lawmakers want to protect water rights in Washington from Wall Street speculation

State resurrects Miller Peninsula plans -PDN

A new “Destination Park” at Miller Peninsula. Seems on the surface like a good idea. More public beach access is needed, along with trails. Funding though is questionable and erratic. More on this, including public meetings, is coming in late spring. We’ll keep an eye out and let you know when they are happening.

A proposal to create a destination park on Miller Peninsula is back on the planning table. Staff with the Washington State Parks system are moving forward with a master plan to develop a state park on more than 2,800 acres on the peninsula between Sequim and the Clallam/Jefferson county boundary. In 2005, the Washington State Parks system began a six-year project to establish one of Washington’s next destination state parks, shelved those plans with a lack of secure funding. Michael Dashiell reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

State resurrects Miller Peninsula plans

More abandoning of environmental protection by Trump’s Administration

This radical right wing administration is continuing it’s push to destroy all environmental laws. Call your Congresspeople. Take action. Do something now. But my long range hope is after we get rid of these destructive morally bankrupt right wing politicians, we will rewrite the laws better than before. Hope springs eternal!

Trump’s new water rule: What it means for mines and pollution
Less federal oversight often means more local jobs. But it could also mean more water pollution. Whether that’s progress may depend on whether you live upstream or downstream from a project. Patrik Jonsson reports. (Christian Science Monitor)

and

Trump Administration Moves to Ease Rules Against Killing Birds
The Trump administration will move as early as Thursday to weaken a century-old law protecting migratory birds by dropping the threat of punishment to oil and gas companies, construction crews and other organizations that kill birds “incidentally” in the course of their operations. The proposed regulation, if finalized, would cement a legal opinion that the Department of Interior issued in 2017. The agency’s top lawyer argued that previous administrations had interpreted the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 too broadly, and that only actions explicitly intended to kill birds should be forbidden under the federal law. The death of a bird from an oil slick, the blade of a wind turbine or the spraying of illegal pesticides would no longer trigger penalties. Lisa Friedman reports. (BY Times)

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