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

State resurrects Miller Peninsula plans -PDN

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

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

State resurrects Miller Peninsula plans

EVENT: State attorney general Ferguson, DNR commissioner Franz to speak Aug. 25 at Democrats’ annual Fish Feast

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, undefeated in 22 lawsuits so far against the Trump administration, will be one of two keynote speakers Sunday, Aug. 25, at the 25th annual Fish Feast in Port Townsend of the Jefferson County Democrats. Its theme this year: “There’s a Lot on the Line.”

Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz, who spearheaded the development of a 10-year statewide plan to fight and prevent wildfires, will be the other keynote speaker.

Tickets for the event at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds are available for $60 at jeffcodemocrats.com and by mail at Jefferson County Democrats, P. O. Box 85, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Tickets will also be available at the door (cash, check or card).

Doors open at 4 p.m. for the bar and socializing in the Erickson Building. Dinner starts at 5:30 p.m., and speakers begin at 6 p.m. The party donates one dollar of each ticket to the Jefferson County Fair Board.

“The Fish Feast is our major fundraiser of the year,” said party Chair Marty Gilmore. “Each ticket purchase supports the vital work we do year-round to elect Democrats! It’s also an opportunity to hear the latest on current issues from our guest speakers – and fun time to see friends.”

Recent successes by Ferguson’s office include the largest-ever trial award in a state consumer protection case, debt relief from predatory lending for hundreds of students, and defense of the constitution by defeating the Trump administration’s attempt to add a discriminatory citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

Franz’s office has led state efforts to make Washington’s lands resilient in the face of climate change, investing in carbon sequestration and clean energy with wind, solar and geothermal infrastructure. Her office has also allocated millions of dollars to struggling rural communities to spark economic opportunities.

Fish Feast attendees will also hear from U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, state Sen. Kevin Van de Wege, state Reps. Mike Chapman and Steve Tharinger, state party chair Tina Podlodowski, and local Democratic elected officials.

Before the feast is served, guests can mingle with candidates, campaigns, and organizations in Campaign Alley outside the Oscar Erickson Building.

Rep. Kilmer has sponsored tickets for 20 Young Democrats (under 35 years old). Contact Libby Wennstrom (360-301-9728) or Chelsea Pronovost (425-256-0626) to pre-register as a guest.

“We’re also offering 20 discounted tickets at our cost,” said Fish Feast organizer Claire Roney. “$25 each – first come, first serve.” For more information—or to volunteer for the Fish Feast, contact Roney at (360) 531-1177.

The Fish Feat menu will include sockeye salmon from Key City Fish, BBQed by chef Larry Dennison; shellfish from Taylor Shellfish; greens and veggies from local farms; rolls from Pane d’Amore; and cake. Beverages will include wine from the Wine Seller and beer from Port Townsend Brewing Co.

For more information about the Jefferson County Democrats, visit its website at jeffcodemocrats.com or its Facebook page, @jeffcodemocrats.

Marine Shoreline Design Guidelines -WDFW

For you wonks of regulations, here’s your bedtime reading…

The final version of the state’s Marine Shoreline Design Guidelines prepared for the Aquatic Habitat Guidelines Program. “The Marine Shoreline Design Guidelines (MSDG) were developed to provide a comprehensive framework for site assessment and alternatives analysis to determine the need for shore protection and identify the technique that best suits the conditions at a given site.”

59MB so it’s a big download.

http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01583/wdfw01583.pdf

State climate consultant hired to shrink greenhouse gases- News Tribune

It appears that the newly signed bill to get data that can be acted on for ocean acidification is progressing about as fast as the government can move. The question is whether it can be funded. Apparently there has been no agreement by the State House to fund this bill. Shellfish growers are very concerned about the lack of interest in funding it by Republicans, as their industry will be the first to die from acidification.

A legislative workgroup chaired by Gov. Jay Inslee voted unanimously Tuesday to hire a Virginia-based climate consultant to examine Washington state’s options for reducing greenhouse gases that are contributing to global climate change.

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/06/05/2626915/state-climate-consultant-hired.html

Ecology budget squeeze: Efficiency or neglect? – Crosscut

Given the Department of Ecology backing of net pens against all opposition from elected local officials, scientists, and the population, perhaps it could be argued that they need to have their budgets cut. The question would be, from which department? Apparnently when one local elected official called on the new head of DOE, Maia Bellon, not long after she took office, she told him that her department couldn’t allow a ban on net pens in the counties Shoreline Master Program, that the issue had to be taken to the legislature. No one has ever said that before. Given that her department is one of the departments that approves in water aquaculture in the State, it was an odd statement. And she is getting paid how much to manage this organization? Given that even a nuclear power plant, a water dependent business, would have to be sited up off the waters edge, you would think that closed containment aquaculture could be also.

One potentially divisive piece of the Washington Senate-House budget talks is whether the Washington Department of Ecology faces significant cuts, including the potential closure of its Bellingham office. As with much of the rest of the state’s operating budget, the Republican-oriented Senate wants to trim part of Ecology’s budget for 2013-2015. The Senate’s Majority Coalition Caucus — an alliance of 23 Republicans and two Democrats — believes the ecology department has become too fat and should be trimmed to become more cost-effective. The ecology department disagrees. The Bellingham office plays a variety of roles, ranging from helping out in the response to the recent I-5 bridge collapse to working on the review of a proposed coal port north of the city.

John Stang reports.
http://crosscut.com/2013/05/30/olympia-2013/114703/ecology-budget-squeeze/

Congressman Kilmer Public Events Coming Up this week. May 28 to 31st.

Congressman Derek Kilmer is back in the district looking for feedback on issues. Please attend one of several upcoming town halls. Congressman Kilmer scheduled next week to ensure your voice is heard on issues such as Wild Olympics, funding of environmental projects, rebuilding infrastructure, and of course, how all this relates to job creation, still an incredibly important aspect of our rural counties.

Tuesday, May 28th – Port Angeles
12:00pm – 1:30pm
Peninsula College, The Little Theater
(In Building J, the Pirate Union Building)
1502 E Lauridsen Blvd
Port Angeles, WA 98362

Tuesday, May 28th – Port Townsend

5:00pm – 6:30pm

Fort Worden State Park Conference Center

Fort Warden Commons in Company A

200 Battery Way

Port Townsend, WA 98368

Friday, May 31st – Aberdeen

12:00pm – 1:30pm

Rotary Log Pavilion

1401 Sargent Blvd

Aberdeen, WA 98520

Analysis on Federal Ruling Forcing Culvert Repair -NWIFC

Want to more fully understand last Friday’s landmark ruling that forces the State to accelerate it’s timetable for replacing fish-blocking culverts? Here’s a good place to start: Billy Frank Jr and Ron Allen comment for the NW Indian Fisheries Commission.

OLYMPIA – The state of Washington must fix fish-blocking culverts under state-owned roads because they violate tribal treaty rights, federal Judge Ricardo Martinez ruled on Friday, March 29.

“This is a historic day,” said Billy Frank Jr., Nisqually tribal member and chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. “This ruling isn’t only good for the resource, but for all of us who live here. It will result in more salmon for everyone. This is a great victory for all who have worked so hard to recover wild salmon.”

Read the whole article at:
http://nwifc.org/2013/04/federal-court-upholds-tribal-treaty-rights-in-culvert-case/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nwifc+%28NWIFC+News%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

Roundup of other culvert coverage:
http://nwifc.org/2013/04/roundup-of-culvert-case-coverage/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nwifc+%28NWIFC+News%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

Environmental Group Fights Delay In Marbled Murrelet Habitat Protections – Earthfix

For those who may not have been here in the 70s and 80s, the Marbled Murrelett and the Spotted Owl have been the indicator species that triggered limits on harvest of the remaining old growth forest on the Olympic Peninsula (there was less than 5% remaining of it when the Federal Government stopped harvest due to habitat destruction to these birds). Since the 80s, the timber industry has done all it can to remove these protections, as the remaining timber is very valuable, and unavailable for harvest at this point, but the environmental legal teams have been able to prove to the courts scientifically that cutting more would mean the loss of the birds here. The battle is far from over, as this story from Earthfix shows. How much is at stake is an open debate point, and the issue has been used to inflame rural communities that were suffering from loss of timber jobs since the late 70s. The story that has never been adequately covered is that the loss of these jobs were heavily influence by the very companies that criticized the rules, as they had got Congress to open the shipping of raw logs to Japan. Smaller outdated mills could not compete, or afford to change. Also advancements in mechanized cutting came in at the same time, making many jobs obsolete. The story of the “spotted owl” is so much more complex than it was presented. And so, the 2013 chapter of the ongoing drama over the “Spotted Owl”.

An environmental group has stopped an agreement between the timber industry and federal wildlife officials that would have delayed new protections for a threatened seabird. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service settled with the timber industry group, the American Forest Resource Council, last summer, to avoid a legal battle over for the marbled murrelet. The industry group argued that maps of protected areas called “critical habitat” had been done improperly. Fish and Wildlife agreed to suspend the current maps ­ but draft new ones. But, that agreement, and the protracted timeline ­ that it would take five years ­ drew a legal challenge from the Center for Biological Diversity. Rob Manning reports.

http://earthfix.kcts9.org/flora-and-fauna/article/environmental-group-fights-delay-in-marbled-murrel/

WA State Bills to Oppose -E2SSB 5219 – Water Resource “Use”

E2SSB 5219: Retaining water resources to assure the vitality of local economies.

Requires DNR, PRC and WDFW to report unused water and forces the state to “use” water rights that are connected to public lands for out-of-stream purposes, which is unnecessary as the state has trust a trust water rights program.

Seems like another government forcing of “use” of water rights for non stream purposes. Sounds like an incredibly bad idea on it’s surface. Senator Hargrove appears to be supporting this and it would be beneficial to have him explain why this law is needed.

I can’t believe that the Tribes would support this, for example, given the battles to restore endangered salmon runs.

WA state bills to oppose – ESSB 5200 and HB 1375 – Water exemptions

ESSB 5200, HB 1375: Concerning consolidating a new exempt withdrawal of groundwater into an existing public water system.

Concerns consolidating a new exempt withdrawal of up to 5000 gallons per day of groundwater into an existing public water system to serve a proposed new development with water that would otherwise be withdrawn for beneficial use under a permit exemption. Bill creates confusion when determining if water is “legally available” for increasing water in a municipal system’s water right. A standard for “legal availability” is important to preventing harm to instream flows and senior water rights.

I’m really unclear here of what is being asked by this bill. Analysis by those smarter than this reporter seems to point to a water giveaway, needing additional work to determine what really is available. Appears to be better to ask to kill this bill than find out we’ve allowed a large gaping hole to drive development through.

Perhaps Representative Van De Wege, who is on the House Ag and Natural Resources committee can explain why this should be supported.

To be clear, no action has been taken on this bill since late February, so my guess is that it’s dead.

But, oppose this bill.

U.S. Senate committee approves Sally Jewell’s Cabinet nomination – Seattle Bizjournal

Now for confirmation. Maybe our legislators can get something done back there.

Sally Jewell’s nomination as Interior Secretary won approval (Thursday) morning from the U.S. Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The committee voted 19-3 in favor of the Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) chief executive’s nomination. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., a member of the committee, voted in favor of confirmation. Jewell’s nomination by President Barack Obama will go before the full Senate for final approval.

http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2013/03/21/us-senate-committee-approves-sally.html

Obama to designate national monument in San Juan Islands – Seattle Times

Congratulations to those in the San Juans who fought for years to get these fabulous locations down near Cattle Point and the Iceberg Point designated. Having sailed through Cattle Pass, (after having been checked out by an Orca who swam up and dove under my bow), I can attest that it is a most spectacular island location. I add it here because I know that many of you sail from here to the San Juans, and feel like it’s part of the neighborhood.

President Obama plans to designate a national monument in the San Juan Islands, handing a long-sought victory to island residents and members of Washington’s congressional delegation. Obama will sign a proclamation Monday creating the monument, a White House official said Thursday.

Jim Brunner reports.
http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2020614713_nationalmonumentxml.html

Senator John McCain calls NW Salmon restoration projects “Pork-Barrel”

Isn’t politics wonderful? Here’s a reader challenge: Find one small part of the military budget that is not involved in direct combat activities, cut it, and save all the money being spent by our government on salmon restoration in the NW, including Alaska. As Chris points out, apparently $884M is being spent on Salmon recovery this year. A good start on figuring out what the military spends is located here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States

As you can see, in the last budget, military construction was up 19% (!) to 23.9 Billion dollars. This 19% was above what the President requested. Perhaps the correct answer is to call salmon restoration “Military Construction” as it protects our local free food sources in the event of a war? Then we could add it to the budget, and find that Senator McCain suddenly needs it funded. Has there ever been a military program he has not wanted to fund? (update:actually this is happening already. The mitigation funding for environmental degradation that the Navy is providing to the Hood Canal Coordinating Council to help distribute to environmental restoration projects includes salmon recovery. Mission Accomplished!)

Or perhaps we can find $880B under the “Operations and Maintenance” budget, since likely we could feed restored salmon runs to the military. That budget was up 4.2% last time.

Let’s make sure we understand this fact, that the total of all salmon restoration projects for all the Pacific NW including Alaska is approx. $880M, which we will round up to $1B. This is 1/683rd of the last total military budget. But please, check my math. It’s not my strong suit.

And this isn’t all we are spending our tax dollars on to protect us. The list is long.
DOD which we have been describing is separate from: FBI Counter-terrorism, International Affairs, Energy Department defense spending, Veterans Affairs,Homeland Security,NASA defense related satellites, Veterans Pensions, Other defense related mandatory spending, and yes, interest on debt from past wars. (!)

While I am not advocating cutting spending on all these (as the Republican fueled sequester is actually doing), I am saying that to come out against salmon recovery when these budgets are not even being evaluated for waste reduction, in an era when our troops are coming home and we are getting out of a war, is quite the ‘whipping boy’ for the real issue. It seems that some of our politicians cannot see to give us any kind of “peace dividend” for our 10 years of sacrifices, both in taxes of our incomes, to the funding for young men and women that have been killed and maimed for our politicians demands of invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. A good friend lost his son there, so this is real to me. And Patty Murray still has to fight against the other side of the aisle, McCain’s side, to get any real increase in Veterans’ funding for the wounded coming home. The Sequester will slash spending there, too.

If we ever decided that our needs for this kind of spending of our tax dollars on our maintaining a world wide military against the possibly of a war, were not as high as we thought, we might see not only real substantial spending to restore salmon, far beyond what we are doing now, but also might see the kind of local investment I see in Canada. There, almost every small town has a nice swimming pool for their citizens, courtesy of the federal government. They have universal health care so mothers don’t have to make the hard decision if they can afford to take their sick children to the hospital ER and also afford the cost of medicine for them, as I’ve heard some of our local mothers talk about. And then there’s the issue of properly funding education. The list is long. This isn’t a hard thing to understand. We spend a huge portion of our budget (20%) on defense related spending. But even the Canadians have allowed their latest government to swing the priorities into decreasing everything but defense.

Senator McCain’s ‘side-show’ of political off the cuff comments is very much in line with his long history of this kind of balderdash. To put a lot of stock in his comments is simply to give the fool more PR. But since he asked for it, I think he deserves a bit of retort. Frankly, given the disasters he has helped foment in the last two elections for his party, it’s likely time for him to retire to one of his many homes around Arizona.

This is a good reason to subscribe to the Kitsap Sun. They still are supporting real journalism.

U.S. Sen. John McCain has thrown together a list of “egregious pork-barrel projects” found in the Democrats’ proposed spending bill to avoid a government shutdown. To my surprise, his list is topped by funding to restore Northwest salmon runs. In a news release, McCain said he couldn’t understand why such funding wasn’t cut from the proposed continuing resolution to fund the government until the end of the fiscal year.

Chris Dunagan blogs. Saving salmon tops McCain’s list of wasteful projects

http://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2013/03/13/saving-salmon-tops-mccains-list-of-wasteful-projects/#axzz2NTLCFcgT

Tuesday is Environmental Lobby Day! Feb 19th

Part of the group from Port Townsend at Environmental Lobbying Day 2009

Part of the group from Port Townsend at Environmental Lobbying Day 2009

2013 Environmental Lobby Day is coming up February 19 at United Churches of Olympia. Pre-registration closes Friday, February 15 at 8pm– which means that after Friday, you are still welcome to attend but registration will be $20 instead of $15 for adults, $10 for students.

There’s a lunch option for $12 and bus transportation along the I-5 corridor from Bellingham south for $25.

There is carpooling available from PT, leaving at 6AM and leaving Olympia at 4:30 PM

Register today: Environmental Priorities Coalition, http://www.environmentalpriorities.org

Maia Bellon named as Director of Department of Ecology by Gov Inslee

OLYMPIA – Governor Jay Inslee today named Maia D. Bellon as the new director of Washington State’s Department of Ecology. Bellon currently heads the Water Resources Program at the Department of Ecology, where she has worked since 2010. She was named head of that program in July 2011. Prior to that she spent i5 years in the Attorney Generals office leading litigation support for Ecology’s water resources, shore lands, toxic cleanup and air programs.

Bellon led efforts to bring Lean management practices to state’s water management program. This year she was honored with the department’s Director’s Choice Award.

“Maia will be an effective leader in our efforts to work on natural resource and regulatory issues that are of huge importance to many in our state,” said Inslee. “She brings a keen understanding of key issues such as water management that have implications for both our quality of life and our economy.”

Bellon will also play a key role in shepherding Inslee’s first piece of executive request legislation, the Yakima River Basin Water, Jobs and Fish Bill. The bill implements a consensus plan that addresses a broad array of water issues in the basin, posing threats to area salmon stocks and to Yakima’s agricultural and food industries.

“Although work in the natural resource arena faces complicated challenges, there are many opportunities we can all work towards,” Bellon said. “Under the governor’s guidance, we will look to shape balanced solutions that preserve the quality of life Washingtonians expect.”

As the program manager for Ecology’s Water Resources Program, Bellon oversees management of the state’s water resources, including allocation of water and protection of water rights.
Before working for Ecology, Bellon was an Assistant Attorney General assigned to Ecology’s Water Section. She is a graduate of the Evergreen State College and the Arizona State University College of Law.

Ms. Bellon has been in charge of the contentious “in stream flow” program, during a period of time where it appeared able to function better than it had prior to her arrival as program manager.

Rumor Central: Now REI’s Sally Jewell considered for Sec. of Interior?

Your Saturday Political Intrigue to go along with Netflix’s Americanization of “House of Cards”. The latest rumor coming out of Washington, Ex-Govenor Gregoire may be in competition with Sally Jewell, CEO of REI for the post of Sec. of the Interior. I’d bet on Gregoire though I would prefer seeing Jewell in the role. I don’t have any questions about Jewell’s credentials as an environmentalist.

And if you didn’t watch the BBC version of House of Cards, you likely will really like the American version now streaming on Netflix. I watched the BBC version some years ago and it was excellent, a thriller based on political intrigue. I always love seeing a bit of the pulling back of the veil around how politics works. In this state, after courting and getting the environmental vote, Gov. Inslee sponsors, as his first bill, an act that angers 29 environmental groups, many of whom have been his allies. Would love to be a fly on the wall for how that happened, and what the political give and take was that allowed him to support it. As the old saying goes, “follow the money”.

http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/2013/01/ex-governor-gregoire-rei-ceo-sally.html

Peninsula Representative Put Forward Bill to Allow Ban on Net Pens

Representatives Van de Wege and others put forward a House Bill (1599) to allow counties to prohibit net pen aquaculture in their Shoreline Master Programs (SMPs). Currently, there is no provision to allow an outright ban. I assume that this is in response to our county commissioners being stalled for months by the Department of Ecology’s refusal to allow pens to be prohibited by county governments. It now needs a Senate companion bill, and time will tell how much opposition this runs into by the industry. We will continue to track this bill in the coming months.

Gregoire announces 280 additional acres of Hood Canal now open for shellfish harvest – Bremerton Patriot

Little by little, with enforcement of septic tank inspection and upgrade, and adding of wastewater treatment, we are getting back our shores to where they need to be. A little good news…

Gov. Chris Gregoire today announced that an additional 280 acres of Hood Canal shellfish beds in Mason County have been upgraded by the state Department of Health from “prohibited” to ”approved” for commercial harvest. With this upgrade, the region is 51 percent of the way toward reaching the goal to reopen 7,000 acres of shellfish beds between 2007 and 2020, a vision outlined in the Puget Sound Partnership’s Action Agenda.</blockquote

Read the rest of the story at
http://www.bremertonpatriot.com/news/182088581.html

Obama Administration pulls fast one on Supreme Court re:case on salmon protection

A most astonishing gambit was played in Washington at the Supreme Court yesterday, as the Obama administration changed a rule in the EPA, apparently to get out of having the Supreme Court rule on whether the Clean Water Act should be applied to logging roads. It seems to be a give away to the logging industry to allow them to continue creating logging roads without significant environmental review. The EPA came out of left field yesterday, as the court was hearing the case (!), to say that they no longer would consider logging road runoff as “industrial waste” though it’s creation is clearly caused by industrial activity. Whether or not this runoff would or should be considered as covered by the Clean Water Act is now moot.

This is interesting in many ways, as the ruling was apparently held until the last minute, maybe until after the election, on purpose, by the administration. They had warned the Justices back in the spring that there was new rules coming that could affect the case, but chose to wait until now to roll them out. One can assume so as not anger their environmental supporters prior to election day. An explanation by the EPA and the Administration would seem in order.

Once again, those who are trying to protect the salmon habitat from ongoing destruction, find that even our ‘friends’ in Washington DC can decide to change the rules to favor the ongoing logging practices. These industrial made culverts have been the reason for hundreds of thousands of miles of sediment runoff, over many decades, that many people have considered to be one of the primary reasons that salmon numbers have fallen so much since the 60s. It is certainly questionable, given the court’s interpretation of the Clean Water Act in previous rulings, whether it would have found in favor of the environmental side, but this now forces a rethink of the tactic, let alone of Administration motives. I would assume additional lawsuits against the runoff rule, will be forthcoming. A good guess would be that this could trigger tribal interests to weigh in. They have been very vocal that the government is not helping to protect watersheds. This should provide fuel to their argument, and might get them to invoke Treaty protections. Just last month, at the NW Straits Marine Resources Committees Annual Meeting, Billy Frank Jr. was telling people that after his trip back to meet with President Obama and others in the administration and Congress, that he felt that “no one is in charge” of salmon recovery. Now it seems that the administration could be pushing Billy and the NW Indian Fisheries Coalition to weigh in and take action in the courts.

Read the interesting back and forth between an astonished Chief Justice Roberts and the government side lawyers, who can’t even agree among themselves as to the proper course of action after this ‘rabbit out of the hat’ move.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/04/us/epa-rule-complicates-supreme-court-case-on-logging-runoff.html?_r=0

and

http://earthfix.kcts9.org/water/article/epa-rule-on-logging-road-runoff-throws-curveball-a/

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