Local Supporters Cheer House Passage of Wild Olympics Bill as part of NDAA

Olympic Peninsula Tribes, Sportsmen groups, business leaders, and local officials cite benefits to local economy, clean water, and salmon recovery

QUILCENE, Wash. (July 22, 2020) –The Wild Olympics Coalition cheered a major bipartisan vote in Congress yesterday that helped advance important public lands and rivers legislation forward, including the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act sponsored by Senator Patty Murray and Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA-06), which passed with a number of other public land bills as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. The Wild Olympics legislation would permanently protect more than 126,500 acres of Olympic National Forest as wilderness and 19 rivers and their major tributaries – a total of 464 river miles – as Wild and Scenic Rivers. Designed through extensive community input to protect ancient forests and clean water and enhance outdoor recreation, the legislation would designate the first new wilderness in the Olympic National Forest in nearly three decades and the first-ever protected wild and scenic rivers on the Olympic Peninsula.

The bipartisan vote in favor of the legislation included strong support from Washington and California representatives Pramila Jayapal and Adam Smith who supported the amendment to the NDAA. The Wild Olympics legislation was passed by the House earlier this February. Given the few legislative days left in this legislative session, the NDAA offers an opportunity to advance the bill in both Houses of congress. A similar legislative strategy was used in 2014 by Senators Murray and Cantwell and Representatives Reichert and DelBene to attach legislation to expand Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers in the Alpine Lakes and Ilabott Creek, the last major wilderness & wild and scenic bills for WA, which were passed in the 2014 NDAA.

 

“As someone who grew up on the Olympic Peninsula, I learned first-hand that economic growth and environmental protection go hand-in-hand,” said Representative Kilmer.“Adding this practical, balanced strategy to today’s bill will help us protect some of the most environmentally sensitive places on the Peninsula. It will also ensure we can keep and grow jobs in our natural resource industries and other sectors. I am grateful for the years-long collaboration to create a proposal that works for folks across the community – including Tribes, sportsmen, conservation groups, timber communities, business leaders, shellfish growers, and everyone in-between.”

Senator Murray and Representative Kilmer spent years gathering extensive community input on the Olympic Peninsula to craft the carefully balanced legislation. It would permanently preserve ancient and mature forests, critical salmon habitat, and sources of clean drinking water for local communities, while also protecting and expanding world-class outdoor recreation opportunities like hiking, camping, boating, hunting, and fishing. No roads would be closed, and trailhead access would not be affected.

Senator Murray and Representative Kilmer worked extensively with local and regional timber interests to remove any currently viable timber base from the proposal to ensure the legislation would have no impact on existing timber jobs, as confirmed in a 2012 Timber Impact Study by the respected independent Forester Derek Churchill.

Aberdeen Forest Products Consultant and Former Timber CEO Roy Nott said in his July 10th testimony before the House Natural Resources Committee, “My own experience as a CEO and Entrepreneur is that our area’s natural treasures- which provide world-class outdoor recreation, clean water and our area’s high quality of living- are what give us a competitive edge over other regions in attracting and retaining the talented people new companies require.  Wilderness and wild and scenic river protections would help protect and grow the local jobs that depend on our ability to compete for talent against other regions, and they would enhance our recruitment efforts as we work to grow new businesses in the future. And as a former Timber Industry Executive, I appreciate that Senator Murray and Rep Kilmer’s final compromise proposal was scaled-back to ensure it would not impact current timber jobs.”

The House passage comes on a wave of support from over 100 new endorsements rallying behind the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. The new additions bring the total number of local Olympic Peninsula & Hood Canal region endorsements to more than”800” endorsers, including the Quinault, Quileute, Elwha and Jamestowns’ Klallam Tribes; over 30 local “sportsmen” organizations and fishing guides; the mayors of Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Ocean Shores and Elma; businesses and CEOs; farms and faith leaders; conservation and outdoor recreation groups; and many others. Additionally, more than 12,000 local residents have signed petitions in support.

 

TESTIMONIALS

 

Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe Chairwoman, Frances Charles: “The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe (“Lower Elwha”) strongly supports the proposed Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and appreciates Sen. Murray’s and Rep. Kilmer’s sponsorship of this important legislation. We believe that it represents a fair compromise between potentially competing interests of preservation, economic use, and recreation. This legislation creates 126,600 acres of new wilderness and nineteen new wild and scenic rivers designations in the Olympic National Forest, the Olympic National Park and Washington State Department of Natural Resource-managed land. For Lower Elwha, the most important aspect of these new designations is the increased protection for salmon habitat. And we appreciate that it expressly acknowledges the fundamental interests and expertise of all treaty tribes in the restoration of fish habitat. This is an important complement to our ongoing successes, along with our federal and State partners, in restoring Elwha River fisheries in the aftermath of dam removal.”

 

Quinault Indian Nation President Fawn Sharp: Our Tribe urges swift passage of the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. As stated in the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission’s “Treaty Rights at Risk” report, “Salmon recovery is based on the crucial premise that we can protect what habitat remains while we restore previously degraded habitat conditions. Unfortunately, significant investments in recovery may not be realized because the rate of habitat loss continues to outpace restoration. The resulting net decline in habitat demonstrates the federal government’s failure to protect the Tribes’ treaty-reserved rights.” In an era where we are witnessing unprecedented rollbacks of environmental safeguards on federal public lands, the Wild Olympics legislation would permanently protect some of the healthiest, intact salmon habitat left on the Peninsula.

 

Quileute Tribal Council Chairman Douglas Woodruff Jr. “The Quileute Tribe supports passage of the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. It represents a well-crafted compromise that provides critical protections for fish and wildlife habitat and water quality, while also respecting the treaty rights and management prerogatives of the Quileute Tribe. Protecting the best remaining habitat is imperative as tribal, state and federal governments and citizens throughout the Olympic region commit millions of dollars and incalculable volunteer hours to restoration activities in the face of declining salmon populations, fishing closures, threats to Orcas, and the impacts of climate change.  The current version of the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act is a significant and vital step forward to “protect the best,” and the Quileute Tribe urges swift passage of this legislation.”

 

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Chairman Ron Allen: “As stated in the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission’s “Treaty Rights at Risk” report, “Salmon recovery is based on the crucial premise that we can protect what habitat remains while we restore previously degraded habitat conditions.  Unfortunately, significant investments in recovery may not be realized because the rate of habitat loss continues to outpace restoration. “The resulting net decline in habitat demonstrates the federal government’s failure to protect the Tribes’ treaty-reserved rights. ”In an era where we are witnessing unprecedented rollbacks of environmental safeguards on federal public lands, the Wild Olympics legislation would permanently protect some of the healthiest, intact salmon habitat left on the Peninsula. It is our heritage and cultural principles to protect the lands and waters Nature provides, as well as the natural resources she sustains.  Therefore, we do continue to support and urge swift passage of the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.”

 

Aberdeen Forest Products Consultant & Former Timber CEO Roy Nott: “My own experience as a CEO and Entrepreneur is that our area’s natural treasures – which provide world-class outdoor recreation, clean water and our area’s high quality of living – are what give us a competitive edge over other regions in attracting and retaining the talented people new companies require.  Wilderness and wild and scenic river protections would help protect and grow the local jobs that depend on our ability to compete for talent against other regions, and they would enhance our recruitment efforts as we work to grow new businesses in the future. And as a former Timber Industry Executive, I appreciate that Senator Murray and Rep Kilmer’s final compromise proposal was scaled-back to ensure it would not impact current timber jobs.”

 

Dave Bailey, Past President of the Grey Wolf Fly Fishing Club in Sequim, WA & co-founder of Sportsmen for Wild Olympics: “People think that because our salmon streams on Olympic National Forest appear as they’ve always been, that they are safe. Unfortunately, that’s the furthest thing from the truth.” There are determined threats underway by Congress and the Administration to roll back current safeguards and open these sensitive spawning streams to small hydropower development, industrial clear-cutting and more road building once more.”That’s bad for fish, game, and sportsmen. This legislation is critical to preserve what we have.”

 

Casey Weigel, Owner & Head Guide of Waters West Guide Service (Montesano) and member, of Sportsmen for Wild Olympics: “Through hard work and our passion for our rivers and fishing, my wife and I have grown our small business enough to be able to help 3 other year-round and seasonal local guides support families, who love fishing just as much as we do. I support the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild & Scenic Rivers Act because our rivers and our salmon are our lifeblood and, without them, businesses like ours, the local jobs they support, and the dollars they bring into our local economy would dry up. The Wild Olympics proposal would simply make the current safeguards protecting our rivers on Olympic National Forest permanent. That’s all it does. It doesn’t change access or cost timber jobs. And if it did, I wouldn’t support it, because my family works in the timber industry. There are many challenges facing our rivers and salmon, with lots of debate and millions of dollars spent trying to help restore clean water and habitat downstream. But one basic, simple piece of the foundation we can put in place now that won’t cost any of us anything, is to permanently protect the healthy habitat on the federal lands upstream against any misguided attempts to develop them in the future. That’s why I am a proud supporter of the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. For Our Future.”

 

Ashley Nichole Lewis, Bad Ash Fishing Guide Service (Tahola) and  member, Sportsmen For Wild Olympics: “Conservation for me on the Olympic Peninsula means that the next generation and generations to come can come out here and experience the way that I experience it and the way my grandpa experienced it when he fished out here and that forever we always have this – what is wild and what is the Olympic Peninsula and our culture today.”

 

Bill Taylor, President of Taylor Shellfish Farms (Shelton): “Senator Murray and Representative Kilmer’s Wild Olympics legislation will help protect our state’s shellfish industry, including hundreds of shellfishing jobs in Hood Canal alone – and many more in related industries like processing, shipping and sales. It protects the rivers and streams vital to the health of our hatcheries and to the health and restoration of Puget Sound. Our oyster beds depend on the clean, cold, silt-free water that drains off Olympic National Forest into Hood Canal. Protecting these watersheds allows our industry to grow, expand and continue to benefit the economy and ecology of Washington State. We are grateful for their leadership.”

 

James Thomas, President & CEO Thermedia Corp/MasQs (Shelton): “The Wild Olympics legislation would help protect the outstanding way of life that is an important reason people choose to live, work and play here in Mason County with the stunning backdrop of the Olympic Mountains in our backyard. The ancient forests, wild rivers and scenic beauty of the Olympics are the foundation of our high “Quality of Life” that attracts visitors, entrepreneurs, new residents and investment in our communities, strengthening our local economy. In fact, these spectacular public lands were the final determinant when I chose the Olympic Peninsula as the new home for my medical device manufacturing company.  Ten years later my heart still sings when I round a corner or top a hill and the Olympics come into view.   I applaud Senator Murray and Representative Kilmer for working to protect the Peninsula’s economic future.”

 

Fred Rakevich, Retired logger and 49- year veteran of the timber industry (Elma): “I am a retired logger who worked for fifty years in the timber industry. I have also fished and kayaked most of the major rivers in the Olympics. I was born and raised in Grays Harbor, but have traveled half way around the world. In all my travels, nothing impressed me more than the natural beauty of the Olympic Mountain Range and the clear running waters that begin their journey flowing toward the lands below. Timber is and always will be part of the Olympic Peninsula’s proud heritage. But our ancient forests and wild rivers are the natural legacy we will leave to our children and grandchildren.  Senator Murray and Representative Kilmer’s bill protects our natural heritage while respecting our timber heritage. I thank them for their thoughtful leadership, and future generations will thank them too.”

 

State Representative Mike Chapman, 24th Legislative District (Port Angeles): “I have been very excited about the economic & recreational opportunities Wild Olympics will bring to the Olympic Peninsula. With REI and Patagonia’s support our corner of the world is now attracting visitors from all over. Wild Olympics is our future, for fresh air, clean water, pristine forests and future generations!”

 

Sarah Muszynski, Owner, Blue Horizons Paddlesports (Lake Cushman): “As an outdoor recreation business owner and an avid outdoorsman, my livelihood and lifestyle depend on clean, free-flowing rivers. Visitors to Olympic National Park and businesses like mine annually contribute $220 million in local economic benefits and support 2,708 jobs. This economic benefit depends on access to the high quality natural resources the Olympic Peninsula is known for and protection of those resources. Visitors from around the world come to experience the place we call home. Protecting these resources is an investment in our region’s economic future, and the smart thing to do.”

 

Michelle Sandoval, Port Townsend Mayor (Port Townsend): “This legislation will help permanently protect clean drinking water for local Peninsula communities. For example, one of the places proposed for Wilderness protection is in the Big Quilcene watershed, which filters the clean, cold drinking water for the city of Port Townsend. Protecting forests and rivers on federal lands upstream protects our investments in salmon habitat and water quality downstream. We are grateful for Representative Kilmer’s and Senator Murray’s help in protecting Port Townsend’s clean water.”

 

Harriet Reyenga, Independent realtor for Windermere Real Estate (Port Angeles): “The Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild & Scenic Rivers Act will protect and promote the same spectacular public lands and high quality of life that are helping to drive growth and create local jobs in real estate, construction and many other sectors of our economy today.  Our ancient forests, salmon, rivers and amazing landscapes are the north Olympic Peninsula’s competitive economic advantage over other regions. We should do all we can to protect and promote these natural treasures. The Wild Olympics legislation will do both.”

 

State Representative Steve Tharinger, 24th Legislative District (Sequim): “It is easy to see and understand the ecological value of the Wild Olympics idea, conserving clean and free flowing rivers, but what is sometimes missed is the economic value that maintaining places like Wild Olympics brings by attracting people to the special outdoors of the Olympic region. I want to thank REI and Patagonia for engaging local community leaders like myself to help design the map, and for recognizing that encouraging people to get out and enjoy the special places in the Wild Olympics proposal brings economic benefits to the communities I represent.”

 

Mark and Desiree’ Dodson, Owners Westport Marina Cottages (Westport): “We’re one of the hundreds of local Peninsula businesses backing Wild Olympics because it would protect & promote the same priceless natural treasures that are cornerstones of our economy.  Our ancient temperate rainforests & wild rivers are iconic one-of-kind outdoor recreation destinations that draw visitors & new residents from around the world.”

 

Douglas Scott, Owner of Exotic Hikes and The Outdoor Society (Hood Canal): “Outside my door, the river, forests and mountains of the Olympic Peninsula beckon me to hike and climb. In the Northwest corner of the contiguous United States, far from the hustle and bustle of the big cities, our glacial-fed rivers, full of salmon and surrounded by majestic eagles constantly inspire millions of locals and visitors to the region. Each year, over four million outdoor recreation enthusiasts head to the region, hoping to find a slice of natural beauty in pristine forests and impossibly gorgeous river valleys. As an author, tour guide and advocate for the Olympic Peninsula, I have witnessed the importance of nature and outdoor recreation in the Pacific Northwest. Thanks to the support outdoor enthusiasts from all walks of life, passing the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act will help ensure that even more of the stunning scenery will be protected and accessible for all. I am proud to Support the Wild Olympics. Come visit and fall in love with the beauty of rainforests, wild rivers and breathtaking adventures and you will too.”

 

Contact: Connie Gallant, Chair, Wild Olympics Campaign / connie@wildolympics.org

Wild Olympics Campaign / PO Box 214, Quilcene, WA 98376

Northwest Straits MRC Conference Begins

NWSTRAITS 2019 Collage 1

The Northwest Straits Commission, which since 1998 has run the nationally-recognized conservation initiative, the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative has opened it’s 2019 conference. The conference brings together scientists and  community volunteers in seven counties in northwest Washington. Due to space limitations it was a limited audience but they will be publishing Powerpoints & Audio taping of many of these sessions.

During this conference, the participants get to share their expertise and projects, restoring and educating county citizens and politicians  in their local locales.

The conference attendees will participate in field trips, roundtable worksessions, PCHO3230

The Northwest Straits Initiative’s unique and innovative approach combines sound science and ecosystem perspective together with citizen energy and entrepreneurship to improve efforts to save Puget Sound.

This was the agenda.

Friday, November 15  
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM Field trip: Howarth Park (optional)
Hosted by the Snohomish MRC, led by Bob Hillman
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Northwest Straits 101 (optional)

Dr. Lucas Hart, Director, Northwest Straits Commission

Don Hunger, Executive Director, Northwest Straits Foundation

12:30 PM – 1:00 PM Welcome and opening remarks

Alan Clark, Chair, Northwest Straits Commission

Anne Murphy, President, Northwest Straits Foundation

Sarah Brown, Chair, Snohomish MRC
Executive Dave Somers, Snohomish County

1:00 PM – 2:30 PM Tying it all together: the impact of our collective actions

Dr. Tessa Francis, Puget Sound Institute

Dr. Ron Thom, Northwest Straits Commission

Dr. Tom Mumford, Marine Agronomics

Moderator: Dana Oster, Northwest Straits Commission staff

2:30 PM – 3:00 PM Room check-in and break
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM Musings on habitat loss and restoration in Puget Sound

Dr. Tish Conway-Cranos, WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

Moderator: Lisa Kaufman, Northwest Straits Foundation staff

 
4:00 PM – 4:15 PM Lessons learned from painting Fishes of the Salish Sea

Ray Troll, Artist

4:15 PM – 4:30 PM Remarks from Senator Liz Lovelett
Introduced by Tom Cowan, Northwest Straits Commission
4:30 PM  
 
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM Reception and networking

Podcast: OCTOPOD – Open Communications for The Ocean

Raye Evrard and Allie Brown

 

Book signing: Cruisin’ the Fossil Coastline
Dr. Kirk Johnson and Ray Troll

 
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM Dinner and Keynote Speaker

Welcome – Chairman Shawn Yanity, Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians

Environmental Leadership Award

Deep Time and the Salish Sea
Dr. Kirk Johnson, Sant Director, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

 

 

 

Saturday, November 16

Location: Courtyard by Marriott Ballroom

 
8:45 AM – 9:00 AM Tying it all together – summary results

Dr. Tessa Francis, Puget Sound Institute

 
9:00 AM – 10:30 AM Building community connections

Cheryl Lowe, Jefferson MRC staff

Rebecca Benjamin, North Olympic Salmon Coalition

Dr. Julia Parrish, UW Coastal Observation & Seabird Survey Team

Moderator: Sasha Horst, Northwest Straits Commission staff

10:30 AM – 10:40 AM Remarks from Representative Debra Lekanoff
Introduced by Tom Cowan, Northwest Straits Commission
 
10:40AM – 10:50 AM Break
 
10:50 AM – 11:50 AM Climate change and the blue carbon revolution

Dr. John Rybczyk, Western Washington University
Moderator: Dr. Ron Thom, Northwest Straits Commission

11:50 AM – 12:00 PM Remarks from US Representative Suzan DelBene

Introduced by Christina Koons, San Juan MRC and Northwest Straits Commission

12:00 PM – 1:15 PM Lunch – buffet
1:15 PM – 2:15 PM Transboundary cooperation in killer whale conservation

Dr. Rob Williams, Oceans Initiative

Moderator: Ginny Broadhurst, Salish Sea Institute

Day 2: continued on next page
2:15 PM – 2:45 PM MRC Awards

Presented by:

Nan McKay, Northwest Straits Commission/Foundation

Anne Murphy, President, Northwest Straits Foundation

 
2:45 PM – 3:00 PM Closing announcements
 

 

 

 

Senator Ranker chosen to chair new Senate Environment & Tourism Committee and lead on environmental budget

This will be an important position in the upcoming legislative session.


OLYMPIA – Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island) was selected by his peers in the Senate Democratic Caucus to chair the new Environment & Tourism Committee in the 2019 Legislative Session.

“From our Salish Sea to our orcas to plastic pollution to community health and climate change, our environment and our children’s future has never been at greater risk,” said Ranker. “While the federal administration denies science and institutes reckless policies, Washingtonians want to protect and sustain the incredible quality of life in our communities. I am honored to help lead a powerful environmental agenda in both this new committee as well as our capital and operating budgets to make sure that we don’t just survive the next two years, but put in place incredible environmental policies that protect our environment and our future for generations.”

Recognizing the incredible environmental opportunities before us, the Senate is restructuring environmental oversight by establishing a new committee with general oversight of environmental protection and policies. The committee members will also work to boost our state’s tourism industry. A 2015 study showed that Washington’s outdoor recreation industry generates more than $20 billion annually.

Ranker will also serve as vice-chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee for the environment for both the capital and operating budgets where he will play a leadership role in the development of the critical environmental and natural resources budgets.

 

First EPA chief accuses Republicans of ignoring science for political gain – The Guardian

William Ruckelshaus, who this week will receive the presidential medal of freedom, says candidates are harming US’s reputation ahead of Paris climate talks

The man considered the father figure of environmental protection in the US has attacked Republicans for “going through all the stages of denial” over climate change, accusing leading presidential contenders Donald Trump and Marco Rubio of ignoring science for political gain.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/23/epa-william-ruckelshaus-republicans-climate-change?

Washington Tribe Confronts Climate Change, Sea Level Rise – Earthfix KUOW

Climate change adaptation strikes home here on the west coast of the Olympic Peninsula. The Quinault Indian Nation is struggling sea level rise and the loss of the Anderson Glacier, which feeds the Quinault River.

TAHOLAH, Wash. – A big question will confront international leaders in the next round of climate talks in Paris: How do they help poor, island and coastal nations threatened by rising oceans, extreme weather and other climate change-related risks?

In the Northwest, sea-level rise is forcing a Native American tribe to consider abandoning lands it has inhabited for thousands of years. – Ashley Ahearn reports.

http://kuow.org/post/washington-tribe-confronts-climate-change-sea-level-rise?utm_source=Sightline%20Institute&utm_medium=web-email&utm_campaign=Sightline%20News%20Selections

State invites comments on fishing, hunting, rec programs and policies 

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking input from citizens on it’s policies and procedures. They also want thoughts on what could be improved. You can go to the Department’s web site directly here to fill out a form to give them input.

http://wdfw.wa.gov/wildfuture/

Washington’s Wild Future
A Partnership for Fish and Wildlife

Since I joined WDFW in January 2015, I have been asking people, “If you could tell the director of Fish and Wildlife one thing, what would you say?” Well now is the time for people all across the state to do just that. I want to hear about what we are doing right, where we need to improve, and where we should focus our efforts and our funding over the next five to 10 to 20 years.

This opportunity is part of our new multi-year initiative, Washington’s Wild Future: A Partnership for Fish and Wildlife.

We are embarking on this effort to strengthen the department’s relationships with communities, increase support for conservation and outdoor recreation, and help ensure WDFW programs and services meet the public’s needs.

The comments and proposals we receive will help determine priorities for conserving and managing Washington’s fish and wildlife in the coming years.

We will summarize the comments and suggestions from the public, as well as input from outdoor organizations and the department’s advisory groups, later this year (2015). That information will be used to help identify potential changes in WDFW’s operations and services, and to develop future policy, budget and fee proposals.

We face major management challenges over the next several years, and for us to be successful we need the public’s support and assistance. That’s what this initiative is all about – listening and working with you to build a stronger and more effective Fish and Wildlife.

Public Meetings

Six regional public forums are scheduled for September and October. Each meeting will begin with a brief presentation from WDFW about the importance of fish and wildlife management to Washington’s quality of life and the economies of local communities throughout the state. Participants will then be invited to talk with representatives of the department’s Fish, Wildlife, Enforcement, Licensing, and Habitat programs, as well as Unsworth and his immediate staff.

The meetings are scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. at the following dates and locations:

  • Sept. 10 – Selah Civic Center, 216 1st St., Selah.
  • Sept. 30 – Center Place, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley.
  • Oct. 6 – WDFW Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd, Mill Creek.
  • Oct. 8 – Saint Martin’s University, Norman Worthington Conference Center, 5300 Pacific Ave. SE, Lacey.
  • Oct. 14 – Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver.
  • Oct. 20 – Port of Chelan County Confluence Technology Center, 285 Technology Center Way, Wenatchee.

We want to hear from you!

A few random thoughts about reporting and environmental science – Chris Dunagan

Chris shares his thoughts on 35 years of environmental reporting. I know that he has been an inspiration to my work on this blog since I started it in 2007.

Christopher Dunagan, who retired from daily reporting at the Kitsap Sun and now blogs, wrote of his 35 years of reporting: … “I grew up believing that science was a particular set of facts that explained the workings of nature. For the longest time, I failed to see that the most important thing about science was formulating the right questions about things we don’t know….While there is much work to do, we’re at a point where we can expect Puget Sound residents to limit their damage to the ecosystem and become part of the restoration effort.” (Watching Our Water Ways)

http://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2015/07/25/a-few-random-thoughts-about-reporting-and-environmental-science/

New Jefferson County Republican Leader Rages Against the Environmental “Machine” – PT Leader

Just picked up the Port Townsend Leader today, and read the interview with Gene Farr, the new head of the Republican Party for Jefferson County. Beyond asking why anyone would want such a job, which the Leader did, Farr was allowed a lot of ink to rant against the environmental machine, which he claims is destroying the county. He also took off after the United Nations on the Agenda 21, which is a typical conspiracy theory floated by some of Fox News folks. Gene went on to denounced climate change and environmental protection while he was at it.

It’s really sort of sad where the Republican Party has ended up. More and more they seem like the Goldwater lunatic fringe of the 60s, rather than the party that ran this State in the late 60s through 70s.  It was a Republican Governor,Dan Evans, who worked collaboratively with the the voters of King County to  get Metro off the ground in it’s efforts to clean up Lake Washington. It was Republican Dan Evans who formed the first Department of Ecology at the State level in the US.  Republican Secretary of State Ralph Munro, out on his boat on the Sound, witnessed first hand an Orca capture for the likes of a show much like the one documented in the recent movie “Blackfish”. Ralph was so upset by what he saw that he came back, called his friend Republican Slade Gordon and Governor Evans and pushed to outlaw the practice, thus beginning the long protection of these beautiful animals we share here in the  Salish Sea. It was Republican Richard Nixon who, at popular request, and the urging of the Ash Council, supported the notion of the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and named William Ruckelshaus, a Republican, to run it. Mr. Ruckelshaus has lived in the Seattle area since the 80s, and has been very much involved in helping with the Northwest Straits Initiative, and the founding of the Puget Sound Partnership. He’s still considered a pillar in the environmental community. Closer to home, there are Republicans in Clallam County that I’ve met that are moderate folks who are willing to admit that there are environmental problems worth solving collaboratively, and reasonably come to the table to work on them. They may not agree with Democratic points of view, they might be at odds with some in the environmental community there, but they seem less polarized about it than some I’ve met.

The point of this,is that the keys to success of the Republican Party are not to rant and rail against what many people understand to be positive steps towards protecting our air, water and shorelines. These decisions are difficult, and many of us have volunteered hundreds if not thousands of hours to help formulate regulations that are workable to most. And more importantly, have been found to be legal when challenged to our State Supreme Court. The Shoreline Master Program, the Critical Areas Ordinance and other regulations by the State, which we are allowed to participate in rather than be handed down to us to implement, are legal documents based on rules and regulations that are developed in meetings all over this State. It’s not a cabal, you get invited to them, and can ask to be included. There were distinctly Republican supporters at the meetings I attended, so this wasn’t done in a vacuum. The voters of this county have returned the commissioners who put forward those regulations to office. Something is in alignment I’d venture.

We look forward to Mr Farr putting away his conspiracy theory books, turning off the TV and actually rolling up his sleeves and getting involved in the processes he is so adamantly opposed to. By participation, he is more likely to come face to face with his neighbors, and understand that we are all working to make this a better place. We’re willing to debate different points of view, but to paint us as villains  is just counterproductive. He might just succeed in getting his agenda better integrated into the whole. The history of his party shows that they have been leaders before, and we are anxiously awaiting them to become so again.

Event:”Ocean acidification in WA State” June 15th in Port Townsend

“Ocean acidification in WA State: An exploration of its chemical, biological, and societal impacts”
PTMSC presents this lecture by NOAA Research Ecologist Shallin Busch. Busch helped develop NOAA’s Northwest Center state-of-the-art lab for studying the impacts of ocean acidification, hypoxia, and temperature change on coastal marine organisms. She conducts experiments on economically and ecologically important species and uses this research to explore potential impacts of ocean acidification on entire food webs and fisheries. In 2012, Busch served as a member of the WA State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification. The lecture is this Saturday, June 15th at 4pm in the Fort Worden State Park JFK Building.  No park pass necessary (note: PTMSC is paying in advance so audience doesn’t have to buy a pass, but if you already have one, please bring and display it on your dash). Admission is $7 adults/$5 adult members/$3 youth/$2 youth members

June 8th is World Oceans Day

While this is sponsored by NOAA, the UN and many other agencies, it is oddly not celebrated here in the Salish Sea. Only a couple of minor events are happening, according to their event calendar. Given the huge amount of work being done here, maybe next year we can see a greater uptake in public awareness on this event.

Want to do something to celebrate? Here’s a short list.

  • Take a child to the Port Townsend Marine Science Center
  • Take a child to the Feiro Marine Life Center in Port Angeles.
  • Go to any beach with a bag and collect garbage. You’ll find some.

http://worldoceansday.org/

Heck, Kilmer launch new caucus to support Puget Sound priorities

It’s gratifying to see that newly elected Derek Kilmer (who represents the Peninsula in the House), has stepped up and is attempting to take on the mantle of serious oversight on Puget Sound issues. Given the recent findings that sediment in the Central Sound has been getting more polluted rather than less, it’s time to aggressively change the game plan. Having met with Representative Kilmer at length not long ago, it was my impression that he is a ‘wonk’ very able to understand the complexities of issues. We will find out how much ability he has to deliver solutions, especially in a deeply divided and uncompromising House in WA DC.
Press Release from the Puget Sound Partnership
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Reps. Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer stepped up as Puget Sound protectors yesterday by announcing that they are co-founding the Congressional Puget Sound Recovery Caucus, devoted exclusively to promoting Puget Sound cleanup efforts. For the immediate future, the caucus work will focus on promoting the three recovery priorities, as identified in the Puget Sound Action Agenda: preventing pollution from urban stormwater runoff, protecting and restoring habitat, and restoring and re-opening shellfish beds. Reps. Jim McDermott, Adam Smith, Rick Larsen and Suzan DelBene have signed up as charter members. We appreciate the leadership and support these Members of Congress are providing for addressing the region’s highest priorities to restore and protect the Sound.
Kilmer’s news release: http://1.usa.gov/11iYDuhhttp://
Heck’s news release: http://1.usa.gov/1b18biehttp://

Snowpack for Olympics is great going into summer

The snowpack depth in the Olympic Peninsula as we head into summer is excellent. On May 1st, the last month until next November  that the snowpack is measured, showed that we were 103% of normal for  the year. This is still below last years snowpack but dramatically above the snowpack experienced in 2005, when the pack was only at 25% of normal. In 2006, the Makah Tribe ran very low on water supplies in their reservoirs  All measurements for the Cascades are also above normal. This is in contrast with drought conditions continuing across approx 60% of the country and especially  the southwest and central Rockies. Severe to execptionally severe drought (the highest level measured), continues to plague key farming areas from California to the Central Plains. Costs last year to farming were estimated to be between $50 and 200 B, which is higher than the estimated damage of Hurricane Sandy, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting

Given concerns about global warming, the understanding is that many areas will continue to experience wild weather swings,  storms with increased strength (as Oklahoma hurricanes  and Hurricane Sandy have shown recently, along with historic flooding in Texas) and prolongued drought. The drought of last year was epic, on a scale of the Dustbowl of the Great Depression. This year is expected to be close if not worse.

In the Northwest, we seem to be beneficiares of a pocket of ‘good’ weather. As global temperatures continure to rise, with little sign of a downturn in the trend (the trend is variable, as are most trends).

New Local Food Group of Sequim joins our network

Had a chat this morning with Gerry Christensen who is helping Carol Hull and others with the North Olympic Peninsula Local Food Access Network (L-FAN). (I’ve added their link to the NGO section of the left hand front page if you need to find it in the future).

http://localfoodaccessnetwork.wordpress.com/

In their words:

Our primary focus is North Peninsula local food ecosystems with an emphasis on developing and supporting increased and sustainable capacity for production, distribution, and consumption locally.

Our high-level goals are to educate, act, and facilitate the positive actions of others regarding local food related issues within the North Olympic Peninsula area of Washington. We will strive to do this in harmony with businesses, organizations, and citizens within the area.  Our goal is to communicate with all, seek cooperation when possible, and collaborate or partner with various entities concerned with local food.

As I know some of our readers are involved in this area of environmental activism, I recommend that you contact Gerry and introduce yourself and your organization. Gerry and his family are somewhat new to the Peninsula having come out from Colorado, so I’m sure he’d appreciate getting to know more of you that are working in the area of the local food movement.

His contact info is

Gerry Christensen <gerry.christensen@gmail.com>

 

State Still Ignores Fish-Blocking Culverts -Billie Frank Jr.

Habitat is the key to salmon recovery, but ongoing loss and damage of salmon habitat is driving down salmon populations across western Washington and threatening tribal treaty rights. No matter how well we manage harvest and hatcheries, if there is no habitat, both the salmon and our treaty-reserved rights are lost.

Unfortunately, the state of Washington continues to ignore its obligation to enforce one of the first laws on its books that requires fish passage at culverts under roads. The state has been ignoring that obligation for more than 100 years. Today, hundreds of state-owned culverts block fish passage throughout western Washington. Meanwhile, the state has been unwilling to hold its own agencies accountable, refusing to enforce its own environmental laws.

Read the rest of the story at:
http://nwifc.org/2012/09/state-still-ignores-fish-blocking-culverts/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nwifc+%28NWIFC+News%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

Derelict Fishing Gear Funding Received – NW Straits Foundation News

The Northwest Straits Foundation received $660,000 to finish the job of removing derelict fishing nets from shallow subtidal waters of Puget Sound. The Foundation estimates there are 500 shallow water derelict nets left to remove. The Foundation is aiming to complete the work by December 31, 2013. Funding comes from the US Environmental Protection Agency through the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. This funding will be combined with current and pledged funding from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, NOAA Marine Debris Program, ConocoPhillips Migratory Bird Fund, US Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program, Lucky Seven Foundation, Tulalip Tribes and private donations.

The new funding also pays for a new response and retrieval program designed to prevent future re-accumulations of derelict nets by responding to reports of newly lost nets immediately. The Foundation will be developing this new program in close coordination with the Puget Sound fisheries co-managers.

June 4th: Silence is not an option in Canada

Things are not going well for environmental protection on the north side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Since Canadian voters elected a majority conservative government and PM, an all out slashing of social and environmental programs is underway. Programs that have long supported environmental protection and science are falling away. The most immediate concern for those of us on this side of the Strait, is the removal of tanker monitoring to somewhere near Ottawa. This would be like moving our Coast Guard monitoring to Chicago. When governments let their guards down, is usually when mistakes happen, and get compounded. Given the ease by which oil spreads on water. We must be helping our friends on the other side to restore these disastrous cuts before we are cleaning up a mess that will be “our” mess too. Letting federal officials, like Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell, and others, know that you are concerned about this, would be a good start. On June 4th, Canadian environmental groups and others are planning a ‘black out’ day to alert the public to the threat.
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Georgia Strait Alliance writes: ‘In recent memory, there has never been such an open attack by our federal government on our environment and the civil society that is its voice. And that is why there has never been a more important time for us to speak up. So on June 4th Georgia Strait Alliance is joining organizations, businesses, unions, bloggers and individuals from across the country to “Black Out, Speak Out”.’

http://georgiastraitalliance.blogspot.ca/2012/05/june-4th-silence-is-not-option.html

Fisheries Act changes introduced amid debate over new law’s intent

Canada’s new conservative government continues to strip away environmental protections…
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The Harper government unveiled a massive omnibus budget implementation bill Thursday that includes Fisheries Act amendments that will strip the term “habitat” from the most crucial section of the law. The government’s intent, according to a spokeswoman, to assist “everyday Canadians” in their dealings with federal fisheries bureaucrats.

http://www.vancouversun.com/life/environment/Fisheries+changes+introduced+amid+debate+over+intent/6525454/story.html

Jefferson County Draft SMP released

The latest version of the Jefferson County Draft Shoreline Management Plan was released Tuesday. It appears, at first glance, that many of the protections put in by the working science and citizens advisory groups were gutted. Included in the gutting were buffers beyond 50 feet in Shoreline Residential areas, and geoduck expansion concerns. Public comment period is now open. Assume that there will be considerable comment on this. The document is located at:

http://www.co.jefferson.wa.us/commdevelopment/Shoreline_PCRevisedDraft.htm

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