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

Pros cons argued on Pleasant Harbor resort -PDN

The proposed Pleasant Harbor Resort would either be an economic boom for Brinnon or destroy its bucolic way of life, according to speakers at a Jefferson County Planning Commission meeting…. More than 150 people were crammed into Brinnon School’s auditorium for the meeting on an application from Statesman Groupe of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, for a zoning change for 252 acres from rural residential to master planned resort. Planners heard public comment on the project and the final supplemental environmental impact statement, which was released Dec. 9. Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

CANCELED -Event: JLT Natural History Society presents: Bees and Biodiversity

Jerry FreilichWith high wind warnings for this evening, we have consulted with our
“Bees & Biodiversity” speaker, Jerry Freilich, and decided it’s best
to postpone our event.

We’re now planning for this event to take place at 7:00 pm on Thursday
January 7, in the same location, QUUF. We appreciate your
understanding, and hope to see you then!
On Thursday, December 3, the JLT Natural History Society will sponsor a presentation on Bees and Biodiversity by Jerry Freilich, former director of the North Coast and Cascades Science Learning Network. An entomologist by training, Freilich coordinated scientific research in Olympic National Park. He has researched insect biodiversity since 1996, and recently carried out a project to find and identify as many bee species as possible in Olympic National Park.

Most people can name perhaps three or four kinds of bees. They are surprised to learn that close to 4,000 species of native bees inhabit North America, (this doesn’t including honey bees, which were introduced by European settlers). Freilich will explain why bees are so difficult to study. Most are tiny, fast-flying, and inconspicuous. They go about their jobs, don’t interact with people, and generally fly below human ‘radar’.

Across North America, native bees can be found any place where flowers bloom. They have been pollinating the continent’s flowering plants since long before the arrival of honey bees. Even in today’s vastly altered landscapes, these champion pollinators continue to service the majority of native plants, as well as important human-cultivated varieties such as tomatoes, eggplants, pumpkins, cherries, blueberries, and cranberries.

The program begins at 7 pm in the QUUF’s sanctuary hall on San Juan Avenue, Port Townsend. This event is free and open to the public, with a suggested donation of five dollars.

http://jltnatural.org/2015/11/02/bees-and-biodiversity/

 

CONTACT: Noreen Parks, 379-4007

Facing Rising Waters, A Native Tribe Takes Its Plea To Paris Climate Talks – NPR

Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula has been in the news lately, as an unfortunate “poster child” of ocean rise and climate change. The Quinault Nation has been the first community in the lower 48 that has been forced to move their homes due to what is clearly being attributed to ocean rise. (certainly there are very good reasons to say that Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina also represented climate change created superstorms, this is the first example I’ve seen of a 1:1 relationship).

While the Republican dominated Congress fiddles while their constituents burn, and supposed leaders like Ted Cruz are about to hold a Congressional hearing on climate change that will only include testimony from scientists who oppose the findings of the 97% of scientists that believe in climate change, we only have to look west to the coast, and our neighbors under siege from rising waters. It’s clear that Cruz is not representing his constituents, but the economic forces aligned against taking action. But back to the coast and a report from superb regional journalist Ashley Ahearn.

International leaders gathering in Paris to address global warming face increasing pressure to tackle the issue of “climate refugees.” Some island nations are already looking to move their people to higher ground, even purchasing land elsewhere in preparation. In the U.S. Northwest, sea-level rise is forcing a Native American tribe to consider abandoning lands it has inhabited for thousands of years. The Quinault Indian Nation, whose small village lies at the mouth of the Quinault River on the outer coast of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, now relies on a 2,000-foot-long sea wall to protect it from the encroaching Pacific Ocean. Ashley Ahearn report. (NPR)

http://www.npr.org/2015/12/01/455745765/facing-rising-waters-a-native-tribe-takes-its-plea-to-paris-climate-talks

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

U.S. Navy to Initiate Actions Without Completing Agency Consultations – WCAA

The Navy continues to show what seems to be an arrogance in it’s interpretations of the laws of the state and the country when it comes to providing proof of non-harm of the environment.  It is quite astounding that after all the thousands of comments that have been put forward by the people living in this area against the attempts of the Navy to co-op our air, land and waters for training exercises, when there are alternative locations available, that the Navy would choose to take this route. In the face of tribal cultural resources, environmental and historical areas of significance, etc., that the Navy would choose to put this current EIS document out, and that they are giving you, the people paying their salaries and who they defend, no public comment period, seems to be  both illegal and outrageous behavior. 

Keep the momentum up people. The legal system will be used,  and your calls to Derek Kilmer, Maria Cantwell, Patty Murray and locally our State Representatives and Senators is required to show that we are not going to let the Navy simply get it’s way because it puts out thousands of pages of erroneous information, on purpose. 


Port Townsend, WA, November 8, 2015 –  The West Coast Action Alliance and Olympic Forest Coalition received the astounding news that the Navy has unilaterally declared the consultation over, on effects of Navy activities on cultural and historic properties, with Washington’s State Historic Preservation Officer. In her immediate reply letter from the State, State Historic Preservation Officer Dr. Allyson Brooks strongly objected to the abrupt termination.

Under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the Navy is required to consult with Washington’s Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation.

In their letter to Dr. Brooks, the Navy claimed that they have complied with the requirements as set forth in the statute and regulations.

However, Dr. Brooks’ office has made it abundantly clear, and reconfirmed this in her letter, that the process is far from complete.  Dr. Brooks strenuously objected to such abrupt termination of ongoing discussions.

As of October 2, the Navy produced a 3,400-page Final EIS on Northwest Training and Testing, with no public comment period and without completing formal endangered species and cultural/historic site consultations with the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the State of Washington. After granting itself a waiver via the office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Donald Schregardus, the Navy is expected to sign a Record of Decision on Monday, November 9. This in effect gives the Navy permission to proceed with actions that require incidental take permits from federal wildlife agencies, and a determination from the State of Washington on potential harm to cultural and historic properties, without knowing what those impacts will be.

Contacts:

Dr. Allyson Brooks, State Historic Preservation Officer: 360-586-3066

John Mosher, Northwest Environmental manager for the U.S. Pacific Fleet: 360-257-3234

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Environment (Donald Schregardus): 703-695-5270

Karen Sullivan is the spokesperson for the West Coast Action Alliance and Olympic Forest Coalition on this topic. More information at:  http://westcoastactionalliance.org

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.”

Federal Fish Managers Brace For Another Warm Year In The Northwest – KPLU

We are not out of the woods yet, as it relates to snowpack.

The summer’s early snowmelt, record temperatures and drought in the Northwest killed young hatchery fish and adult fish returning to spawn. And federal experts are expecting 2016 to be even worse for fish. Seventy U.S. Fish & Wildlife managers passed around a microphone this week in a hotel conference room. They told scary stories about warm Northwest water. The Columbia River heated up this summer, and nearly the entire run of returning sockeye was lost. Anna King reports. (KPLU)

http://kplu.org/post/federal-fish-managers-brace-another-warm-year-northwest

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

Draft Environmental Review Released For Oil Terminals On Washington Coast – KUOW

Hoquim and Aberdeen ports are being slated for crude oil shipments by possible building of oil shipment facilities for trains coming from the Bakken fields in North Dakota. The plan is for 1178 more oil trains and 638 more oil tankers to be added to the Gray’s Harbor area a year. These trains would be carrying huge quantities of highly flammable crude, much the same as the oil that destroyed the Canadian town of Lac-Mégantic. (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lac-Mégantic_rail_disaster for more on that). The plan is for up to 1188 oil trains per year coming into the area. Additionally, the Draft EIS talks about significant impact to the Quinault Tribal fisheries in the area, as the tribe will not be able to fish while boats are present, which essentially is all the time. As stated in the Draft EIS: “Tribal members would not be able to fish when ships or barges are moving through the area.” I guess it’s up to the Tribe to determine whether this particular fishery is worth fighting for, or whether there are other areas they can fish that are less impacted. It will be interesting to see what the Tribe has to say on this.

Also of interest is the trade off that the cities see in adding this highly polluting industry to their area. We all know that Hoquim and Aberdeen have been one of the poorest locations in the State, ever since the collapse of the logging industry due to the disastrous federal policies of allowing raw logs to be shipped to Japan in the 1980s. This  turned what had been an industry that was highly functioning with extraction and higher value processing jobs into a third world country where only cutting and transport of logs was done, wiping out mills across the area in short order. The Federal government green light to massive cutting with no concerns of market conditions or any need for local mills,  led to a short lived boom until the resources were gone. Meanwhile the industry blamed environmental organizations for suing to stop the destruction of all remaining forests to save what little habitat was being left due to a lack of oversight and planning by the Federal Government.

And so the proposal is to continue to eat away at locations where salmon can be fished and create a very large possible oil spill concern, one that not only would impact the Gray’s Harbor area but also the entire Washington and Oregon coast, if one of these vessels sank during a large storm due to mechanical failure. The trade off is to give much needed jobs to at least some of the people in the Gray’s Harbor area. How badly is this oil needed with the downturn in the Chinese economy, and other issues? Is the trade off of possible destruction of our recreational use of the Pacific Coast worth it to support the oil industry and it’s desire to sell their product to China and Japan? You can read and comment on the draft EIS if you wish at the link below.

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/geographic/graysharbor/terminals.html

KUOW summary story:

The Washington State Department of Ecology has just released its draft environmental review of two proposed oil terminals on the Washington coast. A third proposed terminal has not yet begun the environmental review process. The terminals could be built in Grays Harbor, near Aberdeen, doubling current vessel and train traffic levels there. (KUOW)

http://kuow.org/post/draft-environmental-review-released-oil-terminals-washington-coast

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)

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