DNR Proposes Dewatto Natural Resources Conservation Area

In an effort to protect some of the last remaining high quality lowland shorelines on the east side of the Hood Canal, the State Department of Natural Resources has proposed creation of a new conservation area. This was done in discussion with the Trust for Public Land, The Great Peninsula Conservancy and the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group. Those of you who have driven the North Shore road, from around the south end of the Canal from Belfair, will remember that as you start north from the SW point you encounter a beautiful estuary that is very lightly inhabited. That’s Dewatto Bay.

The state will eventually offer fair market value to landowners if this goes through. However there is no requirement that landowners sell. The state has used this kind of process to secure land for perpetuity in other locations including here on the Olympic Peninsula.

The proposed Dewatto Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) seeks protection for approximately five miles of Hood Canal shoreline, including Dewatto Bay and Little Dewatto Bay. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), along with our partners at the Trust for Public Land, Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group, and Great Peninsula Conservancy, are proposing a 1,700 acre NRCA to ensure conservation of important Hood Canal features for enjoyment by future generations: Lowland forests, high-functioning riparian areas, and vital nearshore and estuary habitat for fish and wildlife.

DNR manages NRCAs for conservation, wildlife habitat and low-impact recreation uses. An NRCA designation does not change local land-use zoning, permitted land uses, or development code requirements, and it imposes no new restrictions on landowners.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will conducted two public information meetings on June 26th and June 28th in Dewatto and Belfair concerning the proposal of the Dewatto Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA). Staff from DNR’s natural areas program will hold a public hearing and a public comment period later this summer to provide information and receive testimony on the proposed boundary.

View the Proposed Dewatto NRCA Factsheet and Proposed Dewatto NRCA Boundary Map.

For more information, contact

Katie Woolsey

Natural Areas Manager

206-375-3558

While I was out rafting….

While I was off the grid on the Grande Ronde river with friends, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) that sets the stage to roll back NEPA and the environmental review process across the entire federal government. CEQ is currently only offering the public a 30-day comment period.

So we will need to refashion virtually all environmental laws by the time the Trump administration is done. Lots of work ahead. Maybe a lawsuit will be filed to stop this, as it may be illegal to undermine environmental review.

Cantwell helps secure $25M increase in the Land and Water Conservation Fund

From Cantwell’s office:

As the top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Cantwell fought back against the Trump Administration’s proposal to eliminate the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the country’s most successful conservation program, and secured a $25 million increase in funding over last year’s levels. The funding also includes specific allocations for Washington state projects, including $1 million for Lake Chelan Natural Recreation Area, $5 million for Okanagan National Forest, $6.3 million for the Forest Legacy program in South Puget Sound, and $2 million for the Dewatto Headwaters. Cantwell has long promoted the program, touting its importance for conservation and its positive economic affects for Washington state. In March of 2017, she introduced a bill to permanently authorize and fully fund the LWFC, and she has steadfastly defended the program in the face of attacks.

Governor slated to sign oil spill prevention act.

Some positive news on the oil spill protection front.
SB 6269-S2.E – DIGEST
Addresses oil transportation safety. Finds that the department of ecology’s oil spill program faces a critical funding gap due to the lack of adequate revenue to fully fund the prevention and preparedness services required by state law, including the 2015 oil transportation safety act.
Declares an intent to: (1) Provide adequate revenue to fully fund prevention and preparedness services required by state law;
(2) Direct the department of ecology to specifically address the risks of oils submerging and sinking; and (3) More extensively coordinate with our Canadian
partners in order to protect the state’s economy and its shared resources.
Requires the department of ecology to: (1) Establish the Salish Sea shared waters forum to address common issues in the cross-boundary waterways between Washington state and British Columbia such as: Enhancing efforts to reduce oil spill risk, addressing navigational safety, and promoting data sharing; and (2) In consultation with the Puget Sound partnership and the pilotage commission, complete a report of vessel traffic
and vessel traffic safety within the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound area that includes the San Juan archipelago, its connected waterways, Haro Strait, Boundary Pass, Rosario
Strait, and the waters south of Admiralty Inlet.
Provides a July 1, 2021, expiration date for the Salish Sea shared waters forum.

Governor to sign bill improving halibut monitoring.

More money for halibut monitoring and management.
States that a catch record card for halibut is five dollars. Requires the funds that are received from the sale of halibut catch record cards to be used for monitoring and
management of recreational halibut fisheries including expanding opportunities for recreational anglers

Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill No. 6127
Relating to improving the management of the state’s halibut fishery.
Primary Sponsor: Kevin Van De Wege

Governor Slated to Sign Bill Helping Marbled Murrelet Information Today

Mike Chapman  and Steve Tharinger sponsored the bill. Governor to sign it today.

Requires the department of natural resources to provide a report to the legislature by December 1, 2018, and each December 1st until the year after the United States fish and wildlife service issues an incidental take permit on the state trust land habitat conservation plan for the long-term conservation strategy for the marbled murrelet. Requires the report to include: (1) An economic analysis of potential losses or gains from any proposed marbled murrelet long-term conservation strategy selected by the board of natural resources; and (2) Recommendations relating to actions that support family-wage timber and related jobs, strategies on loss of revenues to the trust beneficiaries, financing county services, and conservation measures for the marbled murrelet that also provide economic benefits to rural communities. Requires the commissioner of public lands to appoint a marbled murrelet advisory committee to assist the department in developing and providing the report. Requires the standing committee with jurisdiction over state trust land management from the house of representatives and the senate, each regular legislative session, to each hold a meeting on the report and on the habitat conservation plan update process.

Engrossed Substitute House Bill No. 2285
Relating to establishing a reporting process for the department of natural resources
regarding certain marbled murrelet habitat information.
Primary Sponsor: Mike Chapman

New Washington directive aims to help endangered orcas

[Washington Governor Jay] Inslee said the orcas are in trouble and called on everyone in the state to do their part. His directive aims to make more salmon available to the whales; give them more space and quieter waters; make sure they have clean water to swim in; and protect them from potential oil spills. “The destiny of salmon and orca and we humans are intertwined,”…”As the orca go, so go we.” Phuong Le reports. (Associated Press)

https://www.kitsapsun.com/story/news/local/2018/03/14/inslee-roll-out-measures-protect-orcas/425028002/

No adverse effects from 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster on B.C. coast: SFU researchers – Canadian Press

I know this has been a concern to some of you here on the Peninsula. There also has been a huge amount of fake news on social media about this. Here’s the latest research.

Seven years after the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan released radioactive elements into the environment, researchers say those elements pose minimal risk to human or salmon health along British Columbia’s coast. A team of researchers at Simon Fraser University’s nuclear science lab collected soil and salmon samples from the Quesnel and Harrison rivers and used a high-resolution gamma-ray spectroscopy to search for signs of radioactive isotopes. The isotopes — Cesium 134 and 137 — are fission fragments that do not exist in nature and, therefore, can be directly attributed to nuclear reactions. Amy Smart reports. (Canadian Press)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/no-adverse-effects-from-2011-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-on-b-c-coast-sfu-researchers-1.4571870

UPDATE: Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen appointed to EPA post in Seattle- Bellingham Herald

This article in the Bellinham Herald has been denied by State Senator Ericksen. No announcement at this moment on who will be heading Region 10 of the EPA. 

The cynical abuse of power by the Trump administration continues with no let up in sight. Appointing politicians who have spent their careers denigrating the various bureaucracies they now are placed in charge of, with the marching orders to shrink, gut and cut any power that these agencies have to do their jobs. Doug Erickssen is one such politician who has made it clear he hates the EPA.

As reported in Oregon Live.com “The work of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency? It raises “the cost of operations so high that too many businesses are closing and too few new businesses are opening up.”

According to the Seattle PI – “The EPA under Trump has dismantled regulations and withdrawn efforts under the Clean Water Act to block a huge proposed mine in Alaska adjoining two of Bristol Bay’s major salmon producing rivers.”

Candidate Donald Trump said at the debate of March 3rd, 2016,” Department of Environmental Protection. We are going to get rid are of it in almost every form. We’re going to have little tidbits left but we’re going to take a tremendous amount out.”

State Sen. Doug Ericksen has been appointed to a new job as the senior adviser to the Region 10 administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency in Seattle. He will start his position some time in the near future, according to the executive assistant for Chris Hladick, the regional administrator for the Pacific Northwest and Alaska region. The Ferndale Republican, in an email, neither confirmed nor denied that he had a new job with the EPA. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/local/article193252109.html

So is this what Washington State Republican voters expected?

Hello? Puget Sound Partnership? – Guest Blog on Salish Sea Communications

I think Pete speaks for many of us, very frustrated at the endless planning and prioritization sessions that the Partnership foists on us. In the end, we need more money on the ground, being spent on a wide range of projects and education of the population.

Hello?  Puget Sound Partnership?  Do you suppose you could take a little break from meetings and planning and strategizing and round up some ammunition to send my way?

http://salishseacommunications.blogspot.com/2017/11/hello-puget-sound-partnership.html

Near- and Offshore Finfish Aquaculture Poses Risks to the Environment and Public Health – John Hopkins University

New report just in from the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at John Hopkins University. Follow the links below for the full transcript of the report.


Expanding the nearshore finfish industry or establishing an offshore industry in the United States carries significant risks to aquatic ecosystems and public health, according to a report published today by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future in the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health and Engineering.

Near- and offshore finfish aquaculture (NOFA) is a method of fish production that occurs in net pens or cages with free exchange of water with the surrounding environment. Although there are currently very few US NOFA operations, some stakeholders have expressed interest in developing the industry in US state and federal waters.

The report assesses whether an expanded industry in the US would be environmentally sound and safe based on current production practices. The research team found the major issues surrounding NOFA to be: large numbers of recent farmed fish escapes, infectious disease outbreaks on farms, development of drug resistant parasites and bacteria, persistence of veterinary drugs in the environment, fish waste causing local and regional ecosystem impacts, and dangers that could cause elevated rates of injury and death among workers. The research team notes that some of these issues can be minimized or addressed with improved regulation and monitoring. Other issues, such as fish escapes and release of fish waste, are inevitable outcomes of fish farming in open water systems as currently practiced.

“The recent net pen breach of more than 160,000 farmed Atlantic salmon near Puget Sound is an illustrative example of how things can go wrong with these kinds of operations,” said Jillian Fry, PhD, director of the Public Health & Sustainable Aquaculture Project at CLF and faculty member in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering. “Globally, many millions of fish have escaped net pen farms. Unfortunately, this is not a new problem to fish farming in coastal or ocean waters.”

Proponents of increasing NOFA operations in the US commonly highlight improvements in specific production practices, but it is often unclear how widely improvements have been adopted. Researchers say the tendency to rely upon the application of existing laws, instead of creating a new regulatory system specifically for aquaculture, has led to regulatory gaps. As a result, many risks described in the report are not adequately monitored or addressed under current US law.

The authors further state that to reduce the potential for conflicts of interest, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which oversees these finfish operations with other federal agencies, should separate their roles of policy and regulatory development from that of industry promotion. They are concerned that the current situation could lead to decisions that favor industry growth and profitability at the expense of protections for ecosystems and public health.

“Putting NOFA operations in the Gulf of Mexico and other regions is expected to be increasingly risky due to severe weather events associated with climate change. The regulations we currently have in place are simply not designed to effectively handle these risks,” said Fry. “Based on the studies included in our report, NOAA should not approve new operations or implement new permitting in additional regions of the US until the recommendations we’ve outlined are fully implemented.”

Ecosystem and Public Health Risks from Near- and Offshore Finfish Aquaculture and Policy Changes Needed to Address Current Risks” was written by Jillian P. Fry, David C. Love, and Gabriel Innes.

Canadian environmental activist and documentary filmmaker Twyla Roscovich found dead

The incredible short life of Twyla Roscovich has ended in Campbell River, B.C. Twyla was the documentary filmmaker who worked with biologist/activist Alex Morton to create the documentary “Salmon Confidential”.

 

The post on Facebook said that foul play was not suspected at this time. Twyla went missing last week, as she headed down island to see medical specialists. Her car was found at the Quadra Island Ferry parking lot in Campbell River.

Twyla leaves a four year old daughter who was with her father at the time of Twyla’s disappearance. A Go Fund me site was created to help fund future educational needs of her daughter. This is the link to it.

You can support the legacy of Twyla by watching her movies, sharing them and never eating farmed salmon. It’s time to end this destructive industry forever. It is destroying salmon runs around the world, both here and in South America, Norway, Scotland and other places, along with pouring millions of gallons of anti-biotics into the sea. Just say no to farmed fish. Always ask your wait person whether the salmon they are serving is wild or farmed. They will know.

Resist propaganda by the fish farming industry and the aquaculture industry (who is fighting any regulations on aquaculture, even though it’s not shellfish). Paid spokespeople for the industry attend Marine Resource Committee meetings  in the north Sound as part of the mix of shoreline industries with a stake in making our waters clean. The industry does much good work in helping pass laws that protect our waters, as they are major employers in our rural counties.  I am not here to damn them entirely. But I have been the target, and have listened to their people denounce Alex Morton and her work, along with politicians that oppose them, such as ex-Commissioner Phil Johnson. They come on as bullies, talking over and down to anyone who questions them, but just remember that if they weren’t being paid by their industry, they wouldn’t likely bother to show up. Just tune them out, and challenge them when they attack anyone who tries to regulate or discuss regulating the farmed fish industry. It’s just fake news.

We call on Governor Inslee and the State House and Senate to watch this film and take action to permanently ban all future in water fish farms in Washington waters. There is new technology available to put fish farms in tanks on land. That should be the way forward.

I am crushed to hear of this woman’s death. She was dedicating her life to create a better world for herself, her daughter and the rest of us, especially those in British Columbia. We are all lessened by her passing. Go in peace, Twyla Roscovich.

Northwest farmers urge Trump administration to sidestep salmon protection rules – AP

Ah yes, some of the folks in Eastern Washington and Idaho, people who’s livelihood was created by the tax payer funded dam projects that irrigated the dry eastern side of our state are back wanting the Feds to kill off the remaining runs of salmon for their short term benefits. These people, who have continued to complain for decades about the intrusion of the very government that created the dams and their farms, now wants it’s help again. This time to overrule the laws that protect our remaining runs of salmon. One of the big supporters of these folks has been Rush Limbaugh, among other radical right wing folks. You can bet your bottom dollar that if this committee ever comes to fruition, there will be not a single environmental representative on it.

A group that represents farmers is calling the costs of saving imperiled salmon in the largest river system in the Pacific Northwest unsustainable and is turning to the Trump administration to sidestep endangered species laws. The Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association wants the government to convene a Cabinet-level committee with the power to allow exemptions to the Endangered Species Act. Known as the “God squad” because its decisions can lead to extinctions of threatened wildlife, it has only gathered three times — the last 25 years ago during a controversy over spotted owl habitat in the Northwest. Keith Ridler reports. (Associated Press)

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/trump-administration-urged-to-avoid-salmon-protection-rules/

Environmental Penalties Down Under President Trump – NPR

This should come as a surprise to no one. This president and his inept band of anti-science vandals, are hell-bent on reversing decades of protection of our air, water and earth. But we need to document the damage they are causing by not enforcing the laws of both Republican and Democratic legacy.

Since President Trump took office in January, enforcement of environmental laws has dropped dramatically, compared with past administrations. A study released by the Environmental Integrity Project finds that $12 million in civil penalties have been collected from violators in 26 cases between January and the end of July….  That’s significantly less than the number of cases prosecuted and the penalties collected under the same six month period by the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations. Greg Allen reports. (NPR)

http://www.opb.org/news/article/npr-environmental-penalties-down-under-president-trump/

Climate Activists in Pacific Northwest Fight Construction of World’s Largest Methanol Refinery – Green Currents

Highly controversial proposal at the mouth of one of most important ecological river deltas.

Climate activists in the Pacific Northwest have rallied against a tsunami of fossil export proposals over the last five years:  coal, oil and the latest, petrochemical projects. The fight against a proposal to build the world’s largest methanol refinery on the banks of the Columbia River using fracked gas may be their biggest fight to date. Martha Baskin reports. (Green Currents)

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/40900-climate-activists-in-pacific-northwest-fight-construction-of-world-s-largest-methanol-refinery

So… after Paris, now what?

I doubt that anyone reading this hasn’t heard that the President of the 2nd largest polluting nation in the world has decided to walk away from a voluntary agreement to reduce greenhouse gases in the face of irrefutable proof that the earth is heading towards disaster within the lifetime of people alive now. He did this by saying he “supports the environment”, which one? And exactly how?

If this was an asteroid heading towards Earth, I doubt he would be equivocating. And if 99 engineers told him that if he drove his car across a certain bridge that it would fall down, would he pile his kids and wife into his limo and head off across? As Sally Field as “momma” told Forest Gump so clearly, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

So now, we go on without the federal government’s support. We can do that, we must do it and we will do it. Real leaders, not the fake ones in the White House and the EPA, have stood up and declared they will. Our Governor Jay Inslee, Oregon and California’s governors, Bloomberg in NYC, ex-Governor of California Arnold Schwartznegger and many many others are committing to simply go around and through the Federal Government.

The President has abrogated his primary role, which is to protect the people of the United States from harm and protect the Constitution. It will be meaningless to protect the constitution if the planet dies. His scientific brain trust and numerous business leaders advised him not to pull out of the agreement. Our allies and religious leaders did too.Add to this, his office of Emergency Management, during the beginning of this hurricane season, still is without a leader. .Mr Trump spends more time tweeting  at 6 AM  than actually doing something about filling key roles in his administration. His lack of leadership and his filling his closest ranks with traitors to this country, people who lack the moral compass to not fraternize with the enemy behind the backs of our own intelligence community is unprecedented. In making the announcement the other day, he had he nerve to say he “represented Pittsburg” when he lost Pittsburg to Hillary Clinton by almost 80 to 20%. He is a habitual liar and a small percentage of the American people believe him all the time.

So stay calm and carry on. This too will pass. And let’s find a leader for 2020 that can win in Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin before the Republicans realize that Trump is more of a liability than an asset and impeach him. In the meantime there is a lot of work to do.

More concerns raised about flame retardants – NY Times

The New York Times has a story that is quite disturbing, about new concerns with flame retardants, found in almost every home and office these days. It now looks like they could be the root cause of a cat wasting disease that has been rampant throughout the U.S. and the developed world. Our State Senator Kevin van de Wege has been a leader in trying to get these chemicals permanently banned in our state and with this article, perhaps he can finally convince remaining holdouts to get these chemicals banned from our homes.  PBDEs are found throughout Puget Sound waters. They likely are found in our fish. And they are found in our homes. Almost every couch seat cushion contains them. As does our electronics. You can help by letting Senator Van de Wege know you want to see him push to get this finalized next legislative session.

How much money could Trump take from science in WA? – KUOW

And this is only some of it.  The Trump recession that is coming as he dismantles science funding will affect us a lot here in the Puget Sound area. Behind the dollars are high paying white and blue collar jobs at these places.

A quick glance around Lake Union and you can tell there’s a lot of science happening in our state. With the Trump administration threatening cuts to research funding, we examined how much money this could mean for Washington state.

First of all, it’s difficult to lasso all the federal dollars going to science. So we zeroed in on two big agencies to get an overview: the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, looking at their reports for the 2016 fiscal year.

Dear Scott Pruitt, you’re making a mockery of the EPA – Crosscut & KING 5

A strong letter to the  new EPA leader by a long time senior staffer, who just resigned.

However, I, and many staff, firmly believe the policies this Administration is advancing are contrary to what the majority of the American people, who pay our salaries, want EPA to accomplish, which are to ensure the air their children breath is safe; the land they live, play, and hunt on to be free of toxic chemicals; and the water they drink, the lakes they swim in, and the rivers they fish in to be clean.

Read the whole short piece at Crosscut. By the way, while you are there, donate a small bit to help continue their efforts. They run this great news source on a shoestring.

http://crosscut.com/2017/04/epa-worker-seattle-letter-to-scott-pruitt/

 

 

I am an Arctic researcher. Donald Trump is deleting my citations – Guardian

Very disturbing news about what is happening to our base of science from the incredibly malicious Trump Administration. We saw similar  wanton destruction of science to validate a political point of view from the Harper Administration in Canada about three years ago. We can only hope that they are simply deleting web pages and not the actual data, which, in case I have to remind anyone, is data that we, the taxpayers, paid for. It is not theirs to delete. Perhaps a lawsuit is in order?

Just over 1% of US Arctic waters have been surveyed to modern standards. In truth, some of the maps we use today haven’t been updated since the second world war. Navigating uncharted waters can prove difficult, but it comes with the territory of working in such a remote part of the world.

Over the past two months though, I’ve been navigating a different type of uncharted territory: the deleting of what little data we have by the Trump administration.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/28/arctic-researcher-donald-trump-deleting-my-citations

%d bloggers like this: