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.

‘Regional climate modeling’ provides clearer picture of climate change impacts in PNW | KNKX

This is what Cliff Mass is best at, regional weather modeling. Cliff has at times been highly skeptical of climate change issues that many of the rest of the scientific community had already excepted, but in the last few years he seems to of come entirely on board with the premise. This appears to be very good work that he’s done with this group of atmospheric researchers.

How does it apply to us here on the Olympic Peninsula? If our snow pack is reduced by 75% in the next hundred years, we may have to seriously look at alternative ways of getting water for our towns like Port Townsend. And the notion of having a papermill that uses 1,000,000 gallons or more a day will likely be a thing of the past.

KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass has been working with a group of atmospheric researchers at the University of Washington hoping to get a better idea of the
— Read on www.knkx.org/post/regional-climate-modeling-provides-clearer-picture-climate-change-impacts-pnw

Navy set to train SEALs on public beaches? 

Just in this AM. Appears to be accurate and very disturbing. The Navy appear to be set to expand SEAL training to some very public beaches. If you feel you want to take action on this, call our elected officials and demand an accounting about this. 

Dear Colleagues,

The Navy  SEAL teams are apparently proposing conducting a massive 4-month amphibious landing combat training program at 68+ beaches, state parks and residential coastal areas in Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and along western coastal beaches, starting in mid-January and going through mid-April. Training events range from 2 to 72 hours, are to be held from 2 to 24 times per year per site, and in some cases involve mock battles with “realistic” simulated weapons. No NEPA process has been conducted, the public has evidently not been notified, and other evidence points to the fact that local, state and federal agencies are also largely unaware of the Navy’s plans. 

(Olyopen states: these locations including Ft. Worden, Ft. Casey, and many other public locations! View the map in the article’s link)

This begs the question: what provisions for public safety, wildlife and habitat, and cultural and historic property protection have been made? 

This article by investigative reporter Dahr Jamail, 

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/34367-exclusive-navy-uses-us-citizens-as-pawns-in-domestic-war-games published today in Truthout, has details and links to internal Navy documents with color-coded maps of targeted areas showing what types of combat training activities will be held in each area. From looking at these files, it appears that 2016 is not the first year for this training. Obviously it’s going to be a big concern throughout the region, and our purpose in writing to you is to ensure that you know, and that the public is made aware of it so that issues concerning public safety, cultural and historic property, and fish, wildlife, and habitat concerns are not ignored. 

As an aside, the Navy is having a public meeting in Port Angeles tomorrow, Tuesday January 12, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Elks Naval Lodge, 131 E. First St. They plan to discuss the pier proposal at Ediz Hook and will only accept written comments, but it is a public meeting, and the same people who have handled (and mishandled) NEPA for the region will be there. Here’s the notice:

http://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnrnw/installations/navbase_kitsap/news/nbkNR/environmental-assessment-for-port-angeles-support-facilities-pro.html

UW, NASA deploy scientific blitz to study rainy Olympic Peninsula – Seattle Times

out-there

No. It’s not an invasion of aliens. And it won’t be the equal to the random secret test launch of a rocket as happened in Southern California last week, scaring everyone in the area, but scientists will be out on the Olympic Peninsula to test the data of a weather  satellite. No guys in aluminum foil hats. Just scientists seeking data.

The OLYMPEX project will use aircraft, radar, weather stations and volunteers with rain gauges to improve local forecasts and ground-truth satellite data. Sandi Doughton reports. (Seattle Times)

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/science/uw-nasa-deploy-scientific-blitz-to-study-rainy-olympic-peninsula/

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

Jefferson County Dems Adopt Marbled Murrelet Resolution

The Jefferson County Democrats adopted, on Tuesday, a resolution urging the Board of Natural Resources to adopt the strongest of the alternatives it is considering for protection of marbled murrelet habitat. As a federally listed threatened species, the murrelet is protected on federal lands, but not on private lands. The bird has been protected on state trust lands under an interim conservation strategy since 1997, years before most research on the murrelet’s ecological requirements took place.

“The state’s own scientists showed in 2008 that this threatened species is still declining because of our logging practices,” said Bruce Cowan, Chair of the Jefferson County Democrats. “If this species is going to survive, we can’t just keep cutting the trust lands where these birds nest.”

The meeting followed a presentation by Kevin Schmelzlen of the Murrelet Survival Project. Not until 1974 did scientists discover that, unlike any other seabird, the murrelet nests in forests, flying as far as fifty miles inland to nest on large branches high in old growth forests. Breeding pairs switch places daily, with one parent feeding on small fish while the other incubates their single egg.

The Washington State Board of Natural Resources is currently considering five alternatives for habitat protection on state trust lands. According to Shmelzlen, only Alternative E responds to the 2008 Science Report, developed by researchers for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The issue of murrelet habitat conservation has been contentious. In 2013, the courts halted a DNR approved harvest of 12,000 acres of timber in Southwest Washington. The Forest Resources Council, an advocate for the timber industry, was unsuccessful in its attempt to have the murrelet de-listed as a threatened species.

“We’ve waited long enough for action,” said Cowan. “Adopting a clear policy based on the 2008 Science Report will make it easier for DNR to do its work. With fewer lawsuits, the flow of timber revenues to state and local governments will be more predictable,” said Cowan. “The set aside is not huge, and it could save a species from extinction.”

Did the US Navy Break Federal Laws to Push War Games Over National Forests? – Truth Out

The continuing saga of the Navy taking over more land, sea and air space, with the implied notion that they “own” it. We need a good lawyer out here that can stop this nonsense.  A good read by Truth-Out’s local writer Dahr Jamail.

“The Navy has an astonishing sense of entitlement to public lands and waters,” Sullivan said about how the Navy has approached the public’s concerns over its operations. “Northwest Training and testing range manager Kent Mathes told me last year after a public meeting, ‘We own the airspace and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.'”

As Truthout previously reported, if it gets its way, the Navy would be flying Growler jets – electronic attack aircraft that specialize in radar jamming – in 2,900 training exercises over wilderness, communities and cities across the Olympic Peninsula for 260 days per year, with exercises lasting up to 16 hours per day. Naval surface fleet ships will also be participating by homing in on ground-based emitters – a topic that was never discussed in the Navy’s environmental assessment.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/33387-us-navy-allegedly-broke-federal-laws-to-push-forward-electromagnetic-war-training-over-national-forests

Sewage release closes waters of Port Ludlow Bay to recreation until Saturday – PDN

With no backup plan in place, the Bay is now closed. Just a heads up for those wanting to kayak or harvest shellfish, which I believe is closed in that bay anyway. Would be great to see a strong rain garden approach in Ludlow to slow the water runoff into the bay.

A sewage spill into Port Ludlow Bay caused by equipment failure at the wastewater treatment plant is not serious or life-threatening, but the area is now closed to recreation until Saturday. Jefferson County Public Health has issued a “no contact” health advisory that will remain in effect until then. The public is advised to avoid any contact with the water in Port Ludlow Bay, including swimming, kayaking, fishing and harvesting of shellfish and seaweed. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20151012/NEWS/310129967/sewage-release-closes-waters-of-port-ludlow-bay-to-recreation-until

Forks implements emergency water restrictions – PDN

The drought is not over folks, just because we got rain. In fact, the forecasts for the next year is for no real relief. Forks has one of 5 city wells shut down, and appears to be in a bad situation for the near term. In Port Townsend, with minimal rationing going on, there still is no talk about backup plans for next year. You would think that if our politicians understood the issue, they would be looking into drilling wells around the county. Just what is their plan if the snows do not materialize this year?

Forks implements emergency water restrictions due to well levels

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20150914/NEWS/309149969

More letters needed on Electronic Warfare Range to Chief of US Forest Service

Forwarded to me, and now to you:
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Saving Olympic National Park
Thank you to all who wrote letters to Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary of Natural Resources, protesting the use of the Olympic Peninsula for an Electronic Warfare Range.  Mr. Bonnie’s office recently conveyed the following:
  •  His office has been so inundated with letters of protest, they have been unable to respond, and are forwarding the letters to the Forest Service to review and send a reply.
  • Mr. Bonnie is personally keeping a daily count of the letters of protest received. To date, the tally is well over 200, and continues to climb.  This is unprecedented for their office.
  • While the public outcry has definitely garnered Mr. Bonnie’s attention, it will take more than one individual to turn this around. She said to contact Tom Tidwell, Chief of US Forest Service     (contact info below)
Already written Mr. Bonnie? You can use the same letter, but address it to Chief Tidwell… and add a few lines in the opening paragraph about the FIRE RISK that this Range would introduce. An accidental jet crash,while perhaps not frequent, could have devastating consequences, putting thousands of American lives– and Olympic National Park–in grave danger.  Listen to the Chief’s advice:
“Remember, these lands belong to you and to all Americans.  As Americans we have an obligation to preserve our wilderness heritage for generations to come.”                 See:
If you have not yet written your letter to Mr. Bonnie, please do so immediately:
Contact info::
Chief Tom Tidwell, USFS
1400 Independence Ave SW
Washington, DC 20250-1111
 
cc, (even if you are from out-of-state):
Derek Kilmer’s assistant:
Please SHARE this Action Alert. 
 

Drought Becomes Deadly For Olympic Peninsula’s Hatchery Fish – KPLU

The Makah have had to kill off their hatchery fish. Not enough water. Too much heat.

This summer’s extreme drought is becoming increasingly deadly for fish in the northwest.

The state department of Fish and Wildlife had already lost about one and a half million juvenile fish in overheated rivers and streams in Washington at the end of July, due to this summer’s historically warm temperatures and low water levels

KPLU Story

Interest flags in pink salmon fishery at Dungeness River mouth after number of returning fish turns out lower – PDN

I’ve shot video on the small group of tribal fishermen that work the beaches at the mouth of the Dungeness. They are out at dawn and often working hard to catch a few fish. It appears that this year will be a washout for them. The fish just aren’t returning in numbers large enough to warrant going out.

Interest has waned in a pink salmon fishery at the mouth of the Dungeness River now that the numbers originally expected haven’t developed, said the natural resources director for the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe. The beach seine fishery, in which weighted nets are used to pull fish to shore, was developed by co-managers of the Jamestown S’Klallam, Port Gamble S’Klallam and Point No Point Treaty Council and approved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to weed out some of the 1.3 million pinks expected to return this season, said Scott Chitwood on Friday. Leah Leach reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20150816/news/308169973/interest-flags-in-pink-salmon-fishery-at-dungeness-river-mouth-after

See also: Crews deepen channels to help struggling salmon amid drought http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/crews-deepen-channels-to-help-struggling-salmon/ Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Letters of opposition needed now on Navy Electronic Warfare Range

This in from the Protect Olympic Peninsula people:
The Executive Director of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics told citizens that letters to Mr. Bonnie may be the best shot we have to defeat the plan of the Navy’s to turn the Olympic Peninsula into an Electronic Warfare Range.  We only have a few weeks left before the Forest Service makes its “decision”.
The letters don’t have to be long…but we need a lot of them! Can you spread this Alert through your own network, and perhaps share it with the younger generation who are so adept at social media? Know any groups who would post it on their Facebook page?
ACTION ALERT: SAVE OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK
Please help save beautiful Olympic National Park from becoming a Warfare training Range! We have only a few weeks before the decision is made. YOUR voice is needed! See how you can help:
It has been recommended that the letters to Mr. Bonnie also be cc’d to our representatives. Thank you for caring and taking action.
Derek Kilmer’s exec secretary’s email address:

Protecting The Olympic National Park From Noise Pollution- Outside Magazine

Welcome to the Quietest Square Inch in the U.S.

And meet the man who’s made it his mission to keep it that way

Outside Magazine profiles Gordon Hempton, the acoustic ecologist who is documenting the “quietest place in the US”. His work has identified the Hoh River Valley as the quietest place in the US, and by doing so, he has put himself squarely into the controversy over the Navy’s plan to expand the use of the airspace over it for what the Navy themselves claim could be around the clock training sorties.

A must read for any of us concerned about protecting the silence that we cherish in our environment out here on the Peninsula.

http://www.outsideonline.com/2000721/americas-quietest-square-inch-and-preserving-natural-sounds

So Dry Even A Rain Forest Is Burning – Seattle Times

The Queets rain forest area is also suffering from the climatic change that is warming the entire planet. Now a major forest fire has started in the Queets area. The temperature of the river is a significant threat to the salmon runs, as mentioned in the story below.

In this hot, dry summer, even the Queets rain forest in Olympic National Park is burning. It’s a rare spectacle, but one that could become more common with climate change.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/burning-rain-forest-raises-concern-about-future/

Spotted owl numbers not only down but also at faster rate – Earthfix

For a variety of reasons, including the near total decimation of old growth timber by our demand for it over the last century, along with invasive species that have outcompeted the spotted owl, we are still on track to wipe out the species sooner than later. Rather than rejoicing the timber industry and their allies should be concerned, because this situation will likely thwart any of their attempts to open the forest to even more exploitation, which is their goal. As if, with the huge tracks of forest cut on the Olympic Peninsula and near record stockpiles in NW mills, we need more cutting of the remaining old growth.

Scientists report that after two decades of attempts to save the species, northern spotted owl numbers in the Northwest are still on the decline — and at a faster rate. The threatened bird nests in old trees and is at the heart of a decades-long struggle over the fate of the region’s old-growth forests. Scientists at a conference Tuesday in Vancouver, Washington, reported that owl numbers are now dropping at an annual rate of 3.8 percent, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Glen Sachet. Five years ago, the rate was 2.8 percent. Tim Fought reports. (Associated Press)

See also: Where Things Stand For Northwest Forests Under The Clinton Plan

http://kuow.org/post/where-things-stand-northwest-forests-under-clinton-planJes Burns reports. (EarthFix)

A Record-Breaking No-Snow Year for the Olympics – Olympic Park Associates

If you think we can be a bit smug about California’s ongoing drought, think again. We are experiencing, this year, an unprecedented lack of snow in the exact places that need to have it. We are entering uncharted territory. By local author, Tim McNulty.

The data from Olympic National Park’s May 1, 2015, snow survey are in and the results are alarming. All snow survey and automated Snotel sites in the park were empty of snow, indicating a zero percent snowpack.

Snow remains on the higher peaks, but it is the mountain basin snow sites that indicate how much moisture will be available for rivers, water supplies, and salmon later in the summer. May is a time when the Olympic snowpack is typically near its peak.

Park science technician Bill Baccus, who monitors the snowpack monthly throughout the spring, points to Cox Valley, at the head of Morse Creek, as an example. Most years, the site would have over six-and-a-half feet of snow in May. This year the site was bare.

http://www.olympicparkassociates.org/index.html

North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center Natural Resources Program – An open letter for support

From supporters of the program:

Dear supporters of the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center Natural Resources program,

Your efforts leading up to and at the 4/28 Skills Center Administrative Council meeting allowed us to turn a corner in our effort to retain the Skills Center Natural Resources program.  Today saw encouraging developments in that the program has been verified as profitable (~$37K profit for 2014-15), and the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is willing to help the Skills Center fix some minor compliance issues with the current Natural Resources program delivery model.

Today, 5/6 at 1 pm at the Skills Center, the Administrative Council meets to vote on the future of the program.

Your attendance and participation in the most clear, respectful and civil way possible will help ensure the program’s survival and success.

To learn more, please visit http://nrprogram.weebly.com and read the following points:

  • The program has now been demonstrated to be a net revenue producer.  This fully addresses the most widely alleged shortcoming of the program.
  • Multiple other alleged concerns have either been determined to be completely unfounded, or have been identified as easily resolvable.
  • Appropriate staff at OSPI have already indicated a readiness to assist in addressing any of these residual compliance and administrative concerns—including appropriate minor adjustments required to ensure proper alignment of the course structure & content with the instructor’s credentials.
  • There is extensive community support for continuation and expansion of the program, as demonstrated in two Administrative Council meetings, two PASD board meetings, and numerous other contacts and expressions of support.  The NOPSC and the respective school districts can count on increased involvement and assistance from existing partners, the program advisory committee, and the broader constituency that has shown its support.

Given all the above:

  • There is no logical reason to discontinue the program.
  • To the extent that Skills Center finances are a driving concern, it is clear that this program is a significant positive component in the Skills Center’s overall bottom line, with every reason to expect further growth.
  • Particularly in the financial context, it would be completely counterproductive to discontinue a program with a positive revenue stream, an established curriculum and constituency, and extensive community attention and support, only to try substituting any new program that would be starting from scratch.
  • The program has significant potential to expand in several ways, including closer relationships with existing partners, addition of more partners, and potential development of curriculum continuity into college-level content.
  • The remaining compliance and administrative issues, acknowledged by agency staff as being easily resolvable and in no way program-threatening, are essentially no different than the sort of periodic administrative and compliance issues that all Skills Center programs are accountable for or called upon to address in the normal progression and evolution of educational programs.

In spite of the above, it is possible that a resolution may be introduced to fully or partially lay off teacher Dan Lieberman or discontinue the NR program.  Please come to Wednesday’s meeting with the above information in mind.

It’s official: Olympic Mountains — source of our water supply — in a state of drought – PDN

We assumed it was happening, and now the news is official. Even if you don’t believe in global warming, you are about to have a summer governed by it.

A stubbornly warm winter is still providing the Olympic Mountains with little snowpack, and the mountain range has been declared to officially be in a state of drought. After a short-lived storm restored about a foot of snow last week, the meager, melting snowpack in the Olympics is back to single-digit percentages of where it should be. The snow level is above the tops of most of the Olympics peaks, meaning that today’s rains are just that — rain — and not snow. Both the short- and long-range forecasts are for above-normal temperatures, according to the National Weather Service. Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20150311/NEWS/303119983/its-official-olympic-mountains-8212-source-of-our-water-supply

National parks set attendance record for 2014; Olympic 6th most-visited national park in system – PDN

A good reason to not allow the Navy to expand their warfare simulations over the west end of the Olympic National Park, including the Hoh River, and Lake Quinault.

The national park system in the United States has a new attendance record for 2014. More than 290 million people visited one of the many national parks or recreational areas in the country. The old attendance record was set in 1999 when more than 287 million people visited the park system.  The 2014 record was an increase from 2013 by 7 percent, or 19 million.  The actual attendance for 2014 was 292,800,082 million people, 3,243,872 of whom visited Olympic National Park. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20150218/NEWS/150219955/national-parks-set-attendance-record-for-2014-olympic-6th-most

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