The Cotton Tote Crisis – NY Times

Here’s hoping that this article will have you turning down any more cotton totes if you already have lots of them. Another of our unintended consequences of trying to do right without thinking through the problem to the end. We can still choose to say no instead of just collect more and more of these things.

B.C. Sea Stars approaching extinction?

Seems hard to fathom, that we may be losing the entire species.

A new study published by the Royal Society said sea stars are getting close to extinction as waters along the west coast. Sea stars in the waters off British Columbia that died off in the billions about a decade ago are not recovering as expected, an expert says. Hina Alam reports. (The Canadian Press)

Expert says B.C. sea stars melting away because of wasting disease

Taking the Temperature of Salmon -Salish Sea Currents

Good overview of one of the most critical issues facing recovery of endangered salmon. Rising temperatures in streams.

In the Puget Sound region, elevated stream temperatures are believed to be one of the great downfalls for salmon, especially in areas where streamside vegetation has been removed by farming, forestry or development.

https://www.eopugetsound.org/magazine/taking-temperature-salmon

First-ever water shortage declared on the Colorado River, triggering water cuts for some states in the West – WA Post

While we watch as the megadrought blankets the west this should be a wake up call to those of us up here on the Peninsula that managing our water resources for the next ten years is likely to be a guessing game. Will the snows come again as expected? If not, how will it affect the flows in the rivers we rely on for our drinking water?

Right now, there has been discussions between the Port Townsend Mill and the City, on renewing a long term lease for the right to use our drinking water source for the mill manufacturing, as they have done for a century. My suggestion? Go for a 10 year lease and revisit it then. We seem to be ok for the immediate future. But 10 years from now it could be a very different situation.

22-year drought — the region’s most severe in more than a millennium — and climate change have made that fundamental problem worse. The alpine snowpack that feeds the river has been diminishing and was melting earlier this year. Parched soil soaks up much of it before it even enters rivers and streams. Extreme heat evaporates water in Lake Mead and other reservoirs more quickly and causes evaporation from plants.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/08/16/colorado-river-water-cuts-drought/

Hydrogen Fuel may not be the salvation we have been told.

New studies show the dangers in betting on hydrogen fuel. By the way, who has been promoting it’s use? The oil and gas industry, of course.

www.nytimes.com/2021/08/12/climate/hydrogen-fuel-natural-gas-pollution.html

Secretary of Interior visits Quinault Indian Nation to deliver support for moving them to higher ground.

It’s great to see our first Native American Secretary of the Interior visit a local tribe to reinforce the issue of the U.N. Climate Change report, which is a grim warning to all of us that time is running out to do dramatic changes to save ourselves from truly catastrophic climate change. The Quinault are on the front lines, as this story points out.

The visit, Haaland’s first to Washington state since her appointment to the Biden Administration, coincided with the release of a dire report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, predicting global havoc due to human-caused climate warming.

Lynda Mapes, Seattle Times

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/this-tribe-has-lived-on-the-coast-of-washington-for-thousands-of-years-now-climate-change-is-forcing-it-uphill/

Cooke Aquaculture Secures Permit to Stock Risky Washington Fish Farm

From the Wild Fish Conservancy. Reproduced in it’s entirety.

Cooke Aquaculture Secures Permit to Stock Risky Washington Fish Farm
For Immediate Release, August 6, 2021


SEATTLE— Despite ongoing litigation and timing questions regarding the lease for the facility, the Washington
Department of Fish and Wildlife has granted fish farming giant Cooke Aquaculture a permit to stock its Hope Island
facility in-water net pens with steelhead.


A group of conservation groups challenged the initial permits for stocking steelhead in Cooke’s net-pens, and that
challenge will be heard by the Supreme Court of Washington in September. Fish farms can degrade water quality,
introduce disease to native fish populations and threaten imperiled animals like the Southern Resident orcas.
But the new permit, signed August 5 by the department, will allow for 365,000 steelhead to be transported and placed
in Cooke’s facility off Hope Island in south Puget Sound before the court’s decision.


“We feel blindsided by this fast-moving process, which could cause major environmental damage,” said Sophia
Ressler, Washington wildlife attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The stocking of this facility has the
potential to contaminate our waters and threaten the species that are so dear to our Puget Sound ecosystem.”
The lease for the facility expires in March 2022. Based on Cooke’s own timeline, this is long before the rearing of the
365,000 steelhead at this facility would be complete. Without a valid lease for this farm beyond that deadline, Cooke
would be required to remove these fish and relocate them.

“Right now, Washington’s highest court is deciding whether Cooke Aquaculture’s new project should have ever been
approved. Before the end of the year, the court could invalidate every permit granted to Cooke and require the
comprehensive environmental review demanded by Tribal Nations, elected officials and thousands of members of the
public,” said Kurt Beardslee of Wild Fish Conservancy. “This decision to approve the transport of fish into Puget
Sound net pens while the court’s decision is pending is fundamentally reckless and further demonstrates an alarming
pattern of state agencies putting the wishes of a billion-dollar industry ahead of wild salmon recovery, tribal treaty
rights and the public’s best interest.”

“The state failed the public and our imperiled wild fish when it granted these permits and allowing stocking to go
forward while our case is pending at the Washington Supreme Court is the epitome of irresponsible,” said Amy van
Saun, a senior attorney with the Center for Food Safety. “Industrial fish farming is not in the public interest.”
“We are dismayed to see the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife again greenlighting Cooke’s plans to
industrially farm steelhead in Puget Sound,” said Hallie Templeton, senior oceans campaigner and deputy legal
director at Friends of the Earth. “That this permit has been issued before oral arguments in our appeal over the
agency’s aquaculture permit is a slap in the face to all Washingtonians and the wildlife who depend on a clean and safe
Puget Sound.”

Background

Following a catastrophic failure at one of Cooke’s facilities in 2017, Washington state passed a law phasing out all
Atlantic salmon net-pen aquaculture by 2022. The permits issued by the Department of Fish and Wildlife allow Cooke
to continue operating its net pens, which are placed directly into Puget Sound waters, by growing steelhead instead of
Atlantic salmon.

During a public comment period in fall 2019, thousands of Washington citizens and organizations filed comments
with the state agency, overwhelmingly calling for the proposal to be stopped and urging the state to draft a new
“environmental impact statement” on open-water aquaculture net pens.
Instead the state wildlife department issued a permit that relied on a cursory analysis and “mitigated determination of
non significance.” The calls for deeper scrutiny came from environmental advocates, commercial fishers and anglers,
legislators, other state agencies and at least five tribal governments from the lands around Puget Sound.
Washington is the only state on the Pacific coast that permits these facilities. At the beginning of 2020, Canadian
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced plans to transition all open-water industrial aquaculture in British Columbia
to land-based facilities by 2025.

The conservation groups that brought this challenge are represented by Kampmeier & Knutsen, PLLC and by
attorneys at the Center for Food Safety and Center for Biological Diversity.
Additional Information:
• Open Brief (filed 2-11-20)
• More Information on the Lawsuit (press release 11-23-20)
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. http://www.biologicaldiversity.org Wild Fish Conservancy is a nonprofit conservation ecology organization headquartered in Washington State and dedicated to preserving, protecting and restoring the northwest’s wild fish and the ecosystems they depend on, through science, education and advocacy. For more information: http://www.wildfishconservancy.org
Center for Food Safety’s mission is to empower people, support farmers, and protect the earth from the harmful impacts of industrial agriculture, including aquaculture. Through groundbreaking legal, scientific, and grassroots action, we protect and promote your right to safe food and a healthy, resilient environment.
Friends of the Earth fights to create a more healthy and just world. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, ensuring the food we eat and products we use are safe and sustainable, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who
live and work near them

New study of studies highlights cell phone risk of brain cancer

An online publication of a long term look at studies of cellular use and it’s possible correlation to brain cancer was published recently. There is apparently increasing evidence that long term use of cell phones pressed against the ear may be statistically significant. While only one data point, I have had a couple of friends who died of brain tumors and were long term heavy cell phone users. On the other hand, I have used cell phones heavily since their introduction and have not yet encountered any cancer. But here’s some suggestions from the authors of the study.

Use texts, a phone’s speaker, or wired headphones. Keeping a smartphone 10 inches (25cm) from your body instead of one-tenth of an inch reduces your radiation exposure to 1/10,000th as much as when it’s pressed against your head. When moving about, store your phone in a bag or purse. If you must carry a phone in your pocket, temporarily turn on airplane mode, which disables the transceiver and sends your incoming calls to voicemail.

Cellular Phone Use and Risk of Tumors: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

ABSTRACT

According to estimates from the International Telecommunication Union, the number of worldwide mobile cellular subscriptions increased from 68.0 per 100 inhabitants in 2009 to 108.0 per 100 inhabitants in 2019 [1]. With the increasing use of cellular phones, concerns have arisen over the carcinogenic effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) emitted from cellular phones [2]. Since 1999, observational epidemiologic studies, specifically case-control studies have reported inconsistent findings on the association between cellular phone use and tumor risk, and several meta-analyses [3,4,5,6] of case-control studies on this topic have been published before 2011.


Among these studies, Myung et al.’s meta-analysis [5] of 23 case-control studies concluded that mobile phone use was associated with an increased tumor risk in high quality studies and studies conducted by a specific research group, and that long-term mobile phone use of 10 or more years increased the risk of tumors regardless of methodological quality or research group. Similarly, Khurana et al. also reported that cellular phone use of 10 or more years doubled the risk of brain tumors in 11 epidemiologic studies [6].


Based on evaluation of the available literature including experimental animal studies and epidemiological studies in humans, in 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO)/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) associated with cellular phone use as possibly carcinogenic to humans [7]. Recently, an advisory group of 29 scientists recommended that IARC prioritize a new review of the carcinogenicity of RF-EMF by 2024 due to mechanistic evidence of the carcinogenicity of cell phone radiation published since 2011 [8].
Although many case-control studies and several meta-analyses have been published regarding the association between cellular phone use and tumor risk, the findings remain inconsistent.

Conclusions


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the associations between cellular phone use and tumor risk using a systematic review and meta-analysis of case-control studies according to various factors including differences in response rates between cases and controls, use of blinding at interview for ascertainment of exposure, methodological quality, funding sources, type of case-control study, malignancy of tumor, and dose–response relationship.

In sum, the updated comprehensive meta-analysis of case-control studies found significant evidence linking cellular phone use to increased tumor risk, especially among cell phone users with cumulative cell phone use of 1000 or more hours in their lifetime (which corresponds to about 17 min per day over 10 years), and especially among studies that employed high quality methods. Further quality prospective studies providing higher level of evidence than case-control studies are warranted to confirm our findings. (emphasis by Olyopen.com)

https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/21/8079/htm#B7-ijerph-17-08079

A more “consumer friendly” wrap up of this can be found at AskWoody.com, a tech magazine.

How extreme is this year’s extreme weather? Here’s a closer look – AP

An analysis of the spread of extreme heat as we sit back and do nothing to stop the climate catastrophe moving across the globe like a shroud. Canada had over 230 fires burning in B.C. alone last month. We are in for a very rough ride, and at the present, it seems the Olympic Peninsula is holding it’s own. There’s no telling how long it will be before we are also impacted.

As the world staggers through another summer of extreme weather, experts are noticing something different: 2021’s onslaught is hitting harder and in places that have been spared global warming’s wrath in the past. Wealthy countries such as the United States, Canada, Germany and Belgium are joining poorer and more vulnerable nations on a growing list of extreme weather events that scientists say have some connection to human-caused climate change. (Associated Press)

How extreme is this year’s extreme weather? Here’s a closer look

Judge hears lawsuit over fish farms: Skagit Valley Herald

The battle over fish farming in Puget Sound is not over yet.

Whether Cooke Aquaculture’s plan to raise native steelhead at fish farms in Puget Sound is a simple business transition or a complex threat to the marine ecosystem is being debated in King County Superior Court. Judge Johanna Bender heard testimony Thursday over Zoom in a lawsuit environment groups brought against the state Department of Fish & Wildlife for granting a permit to the seafood company to raise steelhead. The environment groups — Wild Fish Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety and Friends of the Earth — contend Fish & Wildlife did not meet the requirements of SEPA, the State Environmental Policy Act, before issuing a mitigated determination of non-significance for Cooke Aquaculture’s proposal to move into the production of steelhead following a state-mandated phase-out of non-native Atlantic salmon. The state Office of the Attorney General and Cooke Aquaculture disagree. Kimberly Cauvel report. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Judge hears lawsuit over fish farms

Some B.C. restaurants remove wild salmon from menu in response to declining stocks – CBC


This is an interesting idea. I know that master chef Tom Douglas still supports having wild salmon in his restaurants as a way to keep the fishermen (and women) employed and keeping the wild cycle in play. It is worth remembering that certain stocks are being closed or only open for a day or two. I assume we will see more of this in the near future.

The Naramata Inn in the Okanagan has temporarily removed wild salmon from its summer menu, a decision chef Ned Bell said he made in an effort to allow salmon populations to recover. “It is a species that needs all the love we can give it.” Bell, who is a former Ocean Wise executive chef, said that it’s a temporary measure and he looks forward to bringing salmon back on his menu and supporting community fisheries again. The Vancouver-based Ocean Wise Conservation Association rates the sustainability of seafood so that consumers can avoid eating species that are over-fished or in decline. Michelle Gomez reports. (CBC)

Some B.C. restaurants remove wild salmon from menu in response to declining stocks

Biotoxins in shellfish lead to closure at Discovery Bay – Peninsula Daily News

Following on a recent post about the effects of the recent heatwave, here’s more economic and enviromental effects. Yes, global warming is costing all of us. Discovery Bay is home to a number of commercial geoduck operations as well as recreational shellfish harvesting.

Discovery Bay is closed to shellfish harvesting due to high levels of marine biotoxins discovered in the water. Shellfish samples taken from Discovery Bay were found to contain elevated levels of the marine biotoxin that causes diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, resulting in the state Department of Health closing the beaches around the bay for all shellfish harvesting, Jefferson County Environmental Health said in a press release. Zach Jablonski reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Read the whole story here:

Biotoxins in shellfish lead to closure at Discovery Bay

Lower Elwha restoration project in progress – PDN

More good news on the restoration of the Elwha. Also good news for jobs for local people and the economy. Restoration work is job creating work. It’s good for the economy and for the environment. The long term effects of this work will be visible for generations.


The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe is conducting a beach restoration project at the former Olympic Rowing Club site on Ediz Hook through mid-August. The tribe’s restoration crew will remove existing piers and shoreline armoring such as concrete, creosote beams, riprap and metal, said Tiffany Royal, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission spokesperson. (Peninsula Daily News)

Lower Elwha restoration project in progress

Salmon-killing tires get congressional hearing – KUOW

This is a must needed first step towards changing the equation to what may prove to be one of the root causes of our loss of salmon. Worth noting that no Washington State representatives are on this committee (why? I don’t know). It also appears that it is populated by far more Republicans than Democrats. Again. Why? I don’t know.


A study that pinpointed a chemical from car tires as the cause of salmon die-offs in West Coast creeks has prompted a congressional hearing. The toxic effects of tire dust and skid marks on coho salmon were the subject of a U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee hearing Thursday. Washington State University researcher Jenifer McIntyre said 6PPD-quinone, a chemical recently discovered in used tires, has been washing off roadways and killing coho salmon. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Salmon-killing tires get congressional hearing

With rollback of Trump proposal, new Biden plan cuts just 2% of spotted owl protections -OPB

Good news as the Biden Administration works to reverse the damage done by Trump.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to withdraw the previous administration’s rule that slashed millions of acres of critical habitat protections for the northern spotted owl. The proposed new rule would reduce the protected habitat area in Oregon by 200,000 acres — leaving far more land protected for the threatened owl than called for by the Trump administration. This comes after the Biden administration’s U.S Interior Department delayed and reviewed the Trump administration’s Jan. 15 rollback of 3.4 million acres of designated critical habitat protections for the imperiled species in Washington, Oregon and California. Monica Samayoa reports. (OPB)

With rollback of Trump proposal, new Biden plan cuts just 2% of spotted owl protections

Finding the Mother Tree: ecologist Suzanne Simard offers solutions to B.C.’s forest woes – The Narwhale

An interesting interview with one of the scientists who early on figured out the differences between a “forest” and a “tree farm”.


From eating dirt as a child to discovering the mycorrhizal network below the forest floor, Simard has spent her entire career trying to find answers about how forests work; now, armed with those answers, she’s calling for change. Matt Simmons report. (The Narwhal)

Finding the Mother Tree: ecologist Suzanne Simard offers solutions to B.C.’s forest woes

Vibriosis infections on rise, state officials say -Associated Press


A word of caution for those of us who like to eat shellfish. The recent heat wave has a cost.

An outbreak of vibriosis in Washington has already surpassed the highest number of cases ever recorded by the state for the month of July, the state Department of Health said in a press release. Health officials say 52 cases of vibriosis have been reported in July, KING-5 reported. They blame the record-breaking high temperatures that killed millions, if not billions, of sea creatures during the Pacific Northwest heat wave. The infections are associated with eating raw or undercooked shellfish, especially oysters, that are contaminated with Vibrio. (Associated Press)

Associated Press

Read the whole story here:

Vibriosis infections on rise, state officials say

How healthy is the Salish Sea? Canada-U.S. study tracks ecosystem decline – Coast Reporter

We hear from our Puget Sound Partnership that things are doing “better” from their indicators. However, this new study sheds another perspective on the issue. I’m wondering after the recent heat wave, whether shellfish are going to remain a “positive” indicator.


A joint Canada-U.S. report on the health of the Salish Sea has found either an overwhelming decline or stable trend in nine out of 10 environmental indicators tracked by researchers. The only positive? Shellfish. Stefan Labbe reports. (Coast Reporter)

How healthy is the Salish Sea? Canada-U.S. study tracks ecosystem decline

and read the whole EPA report here:
Health of the Salish Sea Ecosystem Report | US EPA

Can biologists estimate the massive loss of shellfish caused by low tides, high temps? PSI

We are just beginning to understand the incredible loss of shellfish from the latest heat wave.


The putrid smell of rotting shellfish on some beaches in Puget Sound and elsewhere along the West Coast were a clear sign that large numbers of clams, mussels, oysters and other intertidal creatures were killed from exposure to extreme low tides, record-breaking temperatures and a blazing hot sun. The total losses of shellfish that perished late last month may be difficult to estimate, but experts are beginning to piece together evidence from shoreline residents, state and tribal biologists, and commercial shellfish growers. Their goal is to describe what took place during the record-breaking temperatures of June 25-29 during some of the lowest tides of the past century. Christopher Dunagan reports. (Puget Sound Institute)

Can biologists estimate the massive loss of shellfish caused by low tides, high temps?

Canada and the United States release new action plan for Salish Sea Ecosystem – Yahoo Finance

More good news as the Biden Administration opens up communications and cooperation with neighbors.

…Today, the governments of Canada and the United States announced that they have signed a new four-year “Action Plan” under their Joint Statement of Cooperation—first signed in 2000—that commits both countries to work together on transboundary issues and challenges facing the Salish Sea ecosystem. Under the action plan, the two nations will continue to engage with partners across the region to advance shared priorities for ecosystem health, including information sharing, improving transboundary coordination, and reporting on ecosystem health. Environment and Climate Change Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also updated their joint “Health of the Salish Sea Ecosystem Report” analyzing ten indicators of the health of the Salish Sea. Overall trends described in this report reveal some improvement, but also areas of no change or decline that can be identified as ecosystem priorities for future action. (Yahoo Finance)

Canada and the United States release new action plan for Salish Sea Ecosystem (yahoo.com)

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