Superior Court rules against military use of state parks

Judge James Dixon of the Thurston Co. Superior Court ruled that WA State Parks Commissioners were arbitrary and capricious when they allowed the military to use our state parks for military training.  He agreed with Zak Griefen (Bircklin and Neumann) that there was no better word than “creepy” that citizens would feel in parks with military around.  He cited the RCWs under which Parks is allowed to operate and that Parks decision was clearly erroneous and violated its purpose in this case; they violated provisions set forth in the SEPA Act.

The citizens are entitled to attorney fees.


Background on this, years ago, when the military first proposed this, it was argued to the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee (of which I was the chair) and which included one of the “good old boys” from the Port, that this was outrageous and should be challenged by us and denied by the Port. The Port Commissioner just laughed and said that he could see “nothing wrong” with the idea. No one else in the MRC thought it was worth challenging though it was our charter to protect the waters of the county. It’s nice to see that the legal system stood up for our rights when finally taken to court. As has been said many times here, it appears the only way to really protect the environment is to take the offenders to court. There seems to be no appetite by most of the “environmental” community on the Olympic Peninsula to take public sides against these outrageous acts. The days of environmental groups fighting for our environment seem long gone, except for a few exceptions. You can help by funding the ones that still fight in court. That will do far more than anything else you can do.

What happens to salmon deep in the Pacific Ocean? Biggest-ever expedition to shed light – WA Post

Research continues on the mystery of the salmon in the open ocean. A big blank canvas with a few details currently sketched out. This may fill in more of the blank space.


The largest-ever salmon research expedition in the North Pacific, now underway, aims to shed light on that stage in the salmon life cycle. Five ships from the United States, Canada and Russia have been collecting salmon samples and studying ocean conditions across about a million square miles. Researchers hope to map where salmon from different rivers spend their winter months — when less food is available and they are particularly vulnerable — and detect signs of competition between salmon species following marine heat waves in recent years. Joshua Partlow reports. (Washington Post)

What happens to salmon deep in the Pacific Ocean? Biggest-ever expedition begins to shed light

Whale Trail Spring Gathering 2022 

The Whale Trail runs through the Strait, with viewing locations along the way. Perhaps you might be interested in attending this event. I don’t believe it’s online. In person only. It is in West Seattle, so those on the West side of the Sound could take a ferry and walk, bike or bus to the event.


Welcome Spring with special guests Rachel Aronson (Quiet Sound), researcher Mark Sears and Whale Trail Director Donna Sandstrom on March 24, 7 p.m., in West Seattle. Rachel will introduce us to Quiet Sound, a new program to protect whales by reducing noise and disturbance from large vessel like tankers, container ships and ferries. Mark will share photos from recent field research, including encounters with southern resident orcas. Donna will recap news around The Whale Trail, including upcoming events to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Springer’s rescue! Attendance limited; masks optional but recommended. Register here. 

2022 NW Toxic Communities Summit -3/26

UW SRP and the NW Toxic Communities Coalition are excited to announce the 2022 NW Toxic Communities Summit on Saturday, March 26, 9 am–4 pm PST.

This year’s theme is “Together We Can – Scientists and Advocates Working Together for Environmental Health” – speakers include Joel Clement (Harvard University), Robert Martin (former EPA Ombudsman), Jill Witowski Heaps (Earthjustice), Rhonda Kaetzal (ATSDR), Millie Piazza (WA Dept of Ecology), and Denise Trabbic-Pointer (Sierra Club).  

Please see attached poster and REGISTER HERE.

The far-reaching consequences of woodsmoke pollution – HCN

Most of us like the smell of wood smoke. However, the health effects have long been known to be hazardous to our health. Here’s a new update on the issue from the High Country News. They reprinted it from Undark.

…within months of moving in, she noticed grey smoke billowing from the chimney of the house next door. Next, she says, came the sore throats, headaches, and tight lungs.

https://www.hcn.org/articles/climate-desk-pollution-the-far-reaching-consequences-of-woodsmoke-pollution?utm_source=wcn1&utm_medium=email

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New data could help scientists worldwide studying fish passage through dams – NW News Network

More good research being done.


Tiny devices, smaller than a couple grains of rice, help provide reams of data as researchers track salmon around Northwest dams. Scientists hope this data from juvenile Chinook salmon could help broaden the understanding of fish behavior and survival in an inexpensive and effective way at other dams around the world. Courtney Flatt reports. (NW News Network)

 https://www.opb.org/article/2022/03/15/data-fish-tracking-salmon-dams/

Killer Whale Scars Tell A Story – Hakai Magazine

Interesting new research


By counting their scars and when they got them, scientists are unlocking new insights on killer whale social dynamics. Marina Wang reports. (Hakai Magazine)

http://Killer whales scars tell a story

FDA Sued Over Failure to Release Documents Regarding Approval of Genetically Engineered Salmon, Planned Ohio Production Facility 

While this is not local news, it does show that the aquaculture industry seems to be untrustworthy when it comes to honesty to the public. We have seen this many times locally. As mentioned before, the only way to protect our environment seems to be in the courts. We have seen many times recently that we cannot trust the FDA, NOAA, State & Federal EPA, local officials nor the Army Corps of Engineers to actually do their jobs in following the law to protect our environment. The only thing that seems to stop them is lawsuits.

“After years of touting that it will grow its fish in tanks that recycle the water, the company now plans to pump water from the aquifer that supplies community drinking water and dump wastewater back into a nearby stream. Without the requested documents, we have no way to know if FDA has fully considered the effects this facility will have on the local environment.” 


SAN FRANCISCO—Today, Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for unlawfully withholding records regarding FDA’s environmental assessment of genetically engineered (GE) salmon and a planned Ohio-based production facility—a major expansion from current capacity. The FOIA lawsuit comes on the heels of CFS and allies’ successful lawsuit holding FDA’s approval of GE salmon unlawful. FDA’s approval marked the first time any government in the world had approved a GE animal as food. 

“Despite the 2020 court decision holding FDA’s first-ever approval of a genetically engineered food animal unlawful, FDA claims it needs nearly two years to produce records,” said Amy van Saun, senior attorney at Center for Food Safety. “But our request is narrow and straightforward: it’s time for FDA to tell the public about the possible environmental and ecological effects of genetically engineered salmon, including any effects to endangered wild salmon species.”  

AquaBounty’s AquAdvantage GE salmon is produced with DNA from Atlantic salmon, Pacific king salmon, and Arctic Ocean eelpout. In 2016, CFS and Earthjustice—representing a broad client coalition of environmental, consumer, commercial and recreational fishing organizations and the Quinault Indian Nation—sued FDA over the agency’s approval of GE salmon, citing inadequate environmental assessments and broad risks to ecosystems. 

In 2020, in a victory for CFS and allies, a California district court ruled the FDA violated core federal environmental laws in approving GE salmon, including failing to fully assess the serious environmental consequences of approving a GE salmon and the full extent of plans to grow and commercialize the salmon in the U.S. and around the world. The court sent the approval back to FDA to undertake more thorough environmental analyses to inform the public about the potential risks. 

After that ruling, AquaBounty announced plans to build a $200 million facility, expanding its production of GE salmon by 10,000 metric tons. This operation will be eight times larger than its existing Indiana facility. With action in play to produce GE salmon on an even larger scale, it is even more important to understand the environmental and ecological risks of producing and marketing GE salmon for human consumption.  

In October 2021, CFS submitted a FOIA request to FDA, seeking all documents related to FDA’s environmental assessments of AquaBounty’s AquAdvantage salmon and the planned Ohio facility, pursuant to the district court’s ruling. FDA is yet to produce the records, prompting CFS to now sue FDA under FOIA.  

“We are concerned that FDA is not paying careful attention to AquaBounty’s planned expansion in Ohio,” said Jaydee Hanson, policy director at Center for Food Safety. “After years of touting that it will grow its fish in tanks that recycle the water, the company now plans to pump water from the aquifer that supplies community drinking water and dump wastewater back into a nearby stream. Without the requested documents, we have no way to know if FDA has fully considered the effects this facility will have on the local environment.” 

CFS is committed to ensuring the public has access to information concerning government regulation of food production and labeling. CFS’s FOIA program is committed to upholding the principles embodied in FOIA, such as maintaining an open and transparent government. 

# # # 

Center for Food Safety’s mission is to empower people, support farmers, and protect the earth from the harmful impacts of industrial agriculture. Through groundbreaking legal, scientific, and grassroots action, we protect and promote your right to safe food and the environment. Please join our more than one million members across the country at www.centerforfoodsafety.org. Twitter: @CFSTrueFood 

A 30-year long Fishing Dispute Fizzles Out – Hakai Magazine

Interesting that a regional court with no native tribal peoples on it should have the last word on a treaty definition. I was under the opinion that only Congress could define treaties.


With the United States Supreme Court declining to hear the case, a protracted legal battle between two Indigenous communities has nowhere to go. ….For the past 30 years two groups, the Lummi Nation and the S’Klallam nations—represented today by the Jamestown S’Klallam, Port Gamble S’Klallam, and Lower Elwha Klallam Tribes—have been fighting in the courts about a contested slice of the Salish Sea: the waters west of Whidbey Island in northwestern Washington. Involved in this dizzying dispute are no fewer than four tribes, two treaties, and four appellate court decisions. The issue was recently brought to the United States Supreme Court for consideration, though the court declined to hear the case, leaving the Lummi and S’Klallam without an obvious legal path forward. Ashley Braun reports. (Hakai Magazine)

A 30-Year-Long Fishing Dispute Fizzles Out https://hakaimagazine.com/news/a-30-year-long-fishing-dispute-fizzles-out/

Happy Birthday, Billy Frank Jr.

One of the greatest American native leaders of the last 50 years. His influence cannot be overstated. His work led to the incredible explosion of money and projects to save what remains of our great salmon runs, which of course means restoring the earth and protecting it. He was a speaker that always had the perspective to understand what was really needed. He also had passion. In 2012 I audio taped Billy Frank speaking at the Northwest Straits Annual Conference. The link to that audio file below. His message hasn’t been dimmed by time.


Billy Frank, Jr. [b. March 9, 1931] was a tireless advocate for Indian treaty rights and environmental stewardship, whose activism paved the way for the “Boldt Decision,” which reaffirmed tribal co-management of salmon resources in the state of Washington. Frank led effective “fish-ins,” which were modeled after sit-ins of the civil rights movement, during the tribal “fish wars” of the 1960s and 1970s. His magnetic personality and tireless advocacy over more than five decades made him a revered figure both domestically and abroad. Frank was the recipient of many awards, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service Award for Humanitarian Achievement. Frank left in his wake an Indian Country strengthened by greater sovereignty and a nation fortified by his example of service to one’s community, his humility, and his dedication to the principles of human rights and environmental sustainability. (BillyFrankJr.org)

First Fed Gives $1M to NW Maritime Center to Expand Access

Strengthening our shoreline businesses and the efforts to continue their work.


First Fed Bank, subsidiary of First Northwest Bancorp (FNWB), pledged $1 million to Northwest Maritime Center (NWMC) to expand access to maritime education. The funding will be spread evenly across 10 years. “The maritime industry is vital to our region. First Fed is dedicated to helping the Northwest Maritime Center achieve its goal of doubling program participants by 2025,” stated Matt Deines, CEO of First Fed and FNWB. NWMC served 2,950 program participants in 2019 and plans to reach 6,000 annually by 2025. (Globe Newswire)

First Fed Gives $1M to Northwest Maritime Center to Expand Access

Condition of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary good; climate change a growing concern

This just released from NOAA.


Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary habitats are in overall good condition, with stable or improving trends, but climate change impacts are a growing concern for sanctuary managers, according to a new NOAA report on the health of the sanctuary.

The sanctuary’s “Condition Report” includes information on the status and trends of resources in the sanctuary, pressures on those resources, and management responses to the pressures that threaten the integrity of the marine environment. 

The report, based on information from 2008-2019, concludes that overall, most habitats within the sanctuary are in good condition and show signs of stable or improving trends over time. However, there are concerns about the effects of climate change—especially for open ocean habitats.

Climate change effects—marine heatwaves, harmful algal blooms, hypoxic events, and ocean acidification—are the biggest threats to the condition of the sanctuary. Although wildlife populations of the sanctuary are fairly stable or increasing overall, certain keystone and foundational species populations—the purple sea star and sunflower star, Southern Resident Killer Whales, and some salmon species—are displaying cause for concern. 

The report uses a standardized method to summarize the condition and trends of the sanctuary’s resources, habitats, and ecosystem services, as well as pressures on those resources and management responses to the pressures.

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary was established in 1994 and includes 3,188 square miles of marine waters off the rugged Olympic Peninsula in northwest Washington state. Habitats within the sanctuary range from towering kelp forests to deep-sea coral and sponge communities, and there are over 200 reported shipwrecks. Twenty-nine species of marine mammals and more than 100 bird species reside in or migrate through the sanctuary, and it contains some of the most productive habitats for fish in the world.

In order to represent both traditional and modern-day perspectives of the relationship between humans and the ocean, this report includes the voices and knowledge of Indigenous people. Tribal Councils, tribal members, and participating staff from the four Coastal Treaty Tribes contributed to the report.

NOAA uses sanctuary condition reports as a standardized tool to assess the status and trends of national marine sanctuary resources. The assessment period for this report was 2008 through 2019, updating the previous 2008 report. It will inform the management plan review process for Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. 

A web story with details has been published by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

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Science center to open shop in PT

While this story is behind a paywall, worth noting that the Port Townsend Marine Science Center is finally opening their downtown location. Go check it out!

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center will open its doors to the public Friday to show off the completion of the first phase of the nonprofit organization’s move from Fort Worden State Park to downtown. About 50 people attended a crisp outdoor ceremony Wednesday that highlighted the center’s 40-year anniversary and its pledge for conservation and marine stewardship. Brian McLean reports.

(Peninsula Daily News)

No increased WA gas tax in ‘unprecedented’ $16.8B transportation budget – Crosscut

So Cap and Trade fees have helped us put an extra $3B into public transit along with good news for pedestrians and bicycles. But is it actually reducing CO2? To be determined.


Washington legislators keep calling this year’s $16.8 billion transportation budget proposal “unprecedented.” And in many ways it is. There’s $3 billion for public transit, a huge increase over previous packages. And a lot more money for pedestrian and bicycle improvements — $1.3 billion— all paid for by the carbon cap-and-trade fee approved last session, also unprecedented for the state. But what’s missing from the budget is perhaps the most unusual of all. This year’s transportation budget does not include an increase in the state’s gas tax. Liz Giordano reports. (Crosscut)

No increased WA gas tax in ‘unprecedented’ $16.8B transportation budget

EVENT: Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Schedule

The premiere conference on the science of the Salish Sea.


Check out the program schedule for the three-day virtual conference Apr. 16, 27, 28. Registration deadline April 20.

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference schedule

Model of heatwave ‘blob’ shows unexpected effects in the Salish Sea – Salish Sea Currents

Science on the 2013 Pacific Ocean heatwave.


The marine heatwave that struck the Pacific Ocean in late 2013 also caused large changes in temperature in the Salish Sea, but scientists are still puzzling over the impacts of those changes on Puget Sound’s food web. The so-called “blob” of warmer than average water was thought to have increased the production of plankton, which potentially benefits creatures like herring and salmon that feed on the tiny organisms. A new paper in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science calls that interpretation into question pointing to a computer model that links the cause to higher than normal river flows in the region. Eric Wagner reports. (Salish Sea Currents Magazine)

https://www.eopugetsound.org/magazine/salish-sea-model-the-blob

Kevin Grant named superintendent of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

Kevin Grant, superintendent of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary/ photo: NOAA

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries announced the appointment of Kevin Grant of Port Angeles, Washington, as superintendent of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS). Kevin has been with NOAA for nearly 14 years as a deputy superintendent, with more than nine years at OCNMS and four years at National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa.

Kevin has a Masters Degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington, and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Wisconsin. He was a Knauss Sea Grant Fellow at the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, and served two years in the Peace Corps in the Solomon Islands. Nearly all of his experience since leaving graduate school has involved collaboration in resource management with indigenous communities.

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, with offices in Port Angeles, Washington, is managed by NOAA and was designated in 1994. It encompasses nearly 3,200 square miles off the Washington coast, extending from Cape Flattery to the mouth of the Copalis River. Significant natural and cultural resources include 29 species of marine mammals, as well as large populations of nesting seabirds, shipwrecks, and some of the last remaining wilderness coastline in the lower 48 states.

The sanctuary is part of America’s National Marine Sanctuary System, a network of underwater areas encompassing more than 620,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters. The network includes a system of 15 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments. The National Marine Sanctuary System is celebrating its 50 year anniversary in 2022.

What new projections of sea level rise mean for Puget Sound and WA Coast – Seattle Times

Solid reporting on our future along the Salish Sea. 10 to 12 inches of sea level rise in a place like Port Townsend could put large areas under water much of the time. Think the boatyard, Lincoln Beach, Point Hudson, and other places at sea level now.


Sea level rise will affect each area of the planet in a unique way, but new projections are helping researchers and lawmakers in Washington state identify which coastal communities are most vulnerable. A new report published earlier this month by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says sea levels will rise 10 to 12 inches in the contiguous U.S. by 2050 — with regional variations — which scientists say would trigger a “profound increase” in coastal flooding. Nicholas Turner reports.(Seattle Times)

What new projections of sea level rise mean for Puget Sound and the WA coast

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Streamside Shade & Legislation – Salish Current

The Lorraine Loomis Act named in honor of the late Swinomish tribal leader, failed in the Legislature this year. . The bill focused on protecting, restoring and maintaining habitat along salmon-bearing streams and drainages. Here’s a bit of why it did, despite the Governor’s backing.


Salmon recovery is a priority for many in Washington who see vegetated streamside buffers as important to salmon-friendly habitat. But some in the state’s agricultural community see the threat of loss of productive farmland from proposals such as the Lorraine Loomis Act discussed earlier in this year’s legislative session. Lauren Gallup reports. (Salish Current)

Streamside shade: fish and farm advocates struggle to find common ground

Can’t we just eat those invasive crabs until they’re gone? (Probably not) – KUOW

A good question…


European green crabs have been clawing and eating their way through marshes and bays in Washington state. Like the native crabs they often prey on, these destructive invaders are themselves edible. Why don’t we fight them by just eating them into oblivion, KUOW readers and others have asked. Penn Cove Shellfish general manager Ian Jefferds suggested the state follow up Gov. Jay Inslee’s declaration of a green crab emergency in January by opening up an emergency harvest of the unwanted invertebrates. John Ryan report. (KUOW)

Can’t we just eat those invasive crabs until they’re gone? (Probably not)

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