Congressmen Kilmer and Heck introduce Puget Sound SOS Bill

On Saturday U.S. Representatives Denny Heck (WA-10) and Derek Kilmer (WA-6), announced the introduction of a bill to help bring more federal resources to the recovery efforts of Puget Sound. The bill, called the Puget Sound SOS aims at amending the Clean Water Act to allow Puget Sound to be ranked at parity to the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay.

The bill would create a Puget Sound Recovery Program Office in the EPA. The goal would be to better focus resources to these efforts. Currently, the EPA and NOAA help fund the state through grants that are prioritized by the many efforts of the Puget Sound Partnership throughout the Sound.  These prioritized lists, created by volunteers from the various agencies and non profits involved in recovery efforts, are then funded by grants from the EPA and NOAA. The funding has been far under what is necessary, and it is hoped that this will help find more funds through the agency.

The three goals that are of the highest priority, and under which most if not all the other sub goals are grouped into, are: Habitat recovery, mitigating stormwater runoff, and helping shellfish recovery. At the core of these are clean water entering the Sound, and restoration of habitat wherever possible.

While Heck and Kilmer are still looking for co-sponsors, it is still uncertain what changes to the Clean Water Act the Republican controlled Congress is going to seek. There is also the issue of a possible shut down of the government soon, due to Planned Parenthood funding issues.

The good news is that Kilmer and Heck have been fighting for Puget Sound recovery efforts for some time, and have been good at helping keep the issue on a front burner back in Washington DC. 

Details of the bill are not yet available, as the legislation has not been introduced yet.

Foundation removes 5,667 lost fishing nets from Puget Sound – AP, KOMO, and others

nwstraits derelict

The boats used to haul up the derelict nets deliver the speakers to the celebration. Some of faces of the celebration.

Thursday in Everett, the Northwest Straits Initiative celebrated the culmination of it’s shallow water derelict net removal project. It’s been a great project and they hope to eventually get funding to go after the deep water nets next. But the numbers below are really impressive. The takeaways from today’s celebration was how politicians of both sides of the aisle actually came together to fund this project. Furthermore, both Republicans and Democrats who spoke, including Senator Patty Murray, hailed the fact that this is an environmental project that actually accomplished what it set out to do. The Northwest Straits fund our local Marine Resources Committee, which has established the eel grass protection zones in Port Townsend Bay, and helped implement and monitor shellfish protection zones in Mystery Bay and Lower Hadlock.

The Northwest Straits Initiative identified the problem of lost and abandoned (derelict) fishing gear in Puget Sound in 2001 and began removing this gear in 2002. Through the years, the program (now managed by the Northwest Straits Foundation) has combined aggressive removal operations with research and prevention outreach to combat this problem on all fronts. The simple goal is to eliminate harm from derelict fishing gear in Puget Sound. Over the course of 13 years, the program has evolved into a national model of how to effectively address this problem.

June 30, 2015 marked the culmination of the removal of shallow (to 105’) water legacy derelict nets in Puget Sound. 5,667 nets have been removed, recovering 812 acres of marine habitat and protecting from entanglement thousands of animals every year. This represents 94% of the estimated 6,000 nets lost over decades. This marks a major milestone in the recovery of Puget Sound.

The removed nets contained over 450,000 entangled animals representing over 260 unique species, including 65 mammals, 1,092 birds, and 5,659 fish. Animals caught and killed in the gear include porpoises, seals, otters, diving birds like pigeon guillemots and cormorants, sharks, salmon, crabs, and octopus. Removing 5,667 nets has protected more than 1,700 mammals, 28,000 birds, 110,000 fish, and over 4.4 million marine organisms in total, from entanglement in derelict gear annually. More information about this effort can be found at www.derelictgear.org. Because of this net removal work, porpoises, diving birds, and fish can now swim and dive in Puget Sound without the risk of being entangled in derelict fishing nets. They now have free access to over 800 acres of marine habitat formally covered by dangerous derelict fishing nets.

In Puget Sound, derelict fishing nets were identified as a stressor on ESA listed marbled murrelets, salmon, and rockfish. Culmination of this work marks the successful completion of Near Term Action B3.2.1 in the 2014 Puget Sound Action Agenda, the comprehensive plan designed to clean up Puget Sound by 2020.

This work was supported by literally dozens of organizations and thousands of individuals over the years. Its final funding was supported by a bipartisan team of state legislators working across the aisle to solve this seemingly daunting problem.

The Northwest Straits Foundation is now working in collaboration with the fishing industry and fisheries co-managers to ensure that newly lost nets do not become. It is also developing methods to remove derelict fishing nets from deeper water and addressing the problem of derelict shellfish pots.

The Northwest Straits Foundation is the non-profit partner of the Northwest Straits Initiative, a collaborative model for marine conservation with a vision of diverse communities working together to restore a thriving marine ecosystem in the Northwest Straits of the Salish Sea. The Foundation works in partnership with the Northwest Straits Commission and seven local Marine Resources Committees (MRCs) of the Northwest Straits whose members represent the diverse stakeholders of their communities, and who identify and implement local marine conservation and restoration projects in their communities. Northwest Straits Foundation works with the MRCS to develop projects and attain funding support, as well as implement regional restoration and education programs, including its internationally-recognized Derelict Gear Removal Program. See www.nwstraitsfoundation.orgfor more information.

KOMO short piece on NW Straits Initiative ending it’s successful Derelict

This week the organization is celebrating the removal of 5,667 such nets, a feat it calls a “major milestone in the recovery of Puget Sound,” according to a news release. The foundation has removed 94 percent of about 6,000 nets reported as lost in Puget Sound.

Mhttp://www.komonews.com/news/local/Foundation-removes-5667-lost-fishing-nets-from-Puget-Sound-321765361.html

Lost nets, crab pots pulled from Puget Sound waters http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/local/article31054404.html
Divers pulled more than 5,660 derelict fishing nets from Puget Sound’s shallow water — within 105 feet of the surface — as part of the work to remove lost and abandoned gear that had snared and indiscriminately killed marine life, sometimes for decades. Bellingham-based Northwest Straits Foundation led the project. It started in 2002 and ended June 30 this year. About 3,800 crab pots also were removed. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald) See also: Long-running effort to remove deadly ghost nets reaches major milestonehttp://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2015/08/13/long-running-effort-to-remove-deadly-ghost-nets-reaches-major-milestone/Christopher Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Initiative’s feat: Ridding waters of nets – Everett Herald

This is the work of the organization that supports our Marine Resources Committees, both in Clallam and Jefferson County. It’s a great milestone. Real success at ridding one of the big scourges of the Salish Sea.

Knowing the deadly consequences abandoned fishing nets pose for marine life, a nonprofit has worked to remove 550 from Puget Sound this year alone. That brings to 5,600 the number of derelict nets the Northwest Straits Initiative and its partners have dragged out since 2002. The effect: restoring 800 acres of marine habitat. The group’s efforts to remove nets identified in shallow Puget Sound waters concluded in June. A celebration is scheduled Thursday in Everett to commemorate the milestone. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)

http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20150810/NEWS01/150819965/Initiative’s-feat-Ridding-waters-of-nets

Video: A dangerously hot Puget Sound – Seattle PI

Worth a look.

So what will a hot world look like, especially here in the Puget Sound region? Well, check out this video built around a news conference put on by Washington’s Department of Ecology July 30 in Seattle for your answer. Jake Ellison reports. (SeattlePI.Com)

http://blog.seattlepi.com/bigscience/2015/08/05/video-a-dangerously-hot-puget-sound/#34453101=0

See also: Jellyfish boom prompts research by plane and boat http://www.king5.com/story/tech/science/environment/2015/08/05/jellyfish-ecology-noaa-puget-sound/31194035/ Biologists with NOAA and the Department of Ecology are teaming up by plane and boat to track a jellyfish boom in Puget Sound. Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

‘The Blob’ may warm Puget Sound’s waters, hurt marine life – Seattle Times

The story here is a good quick overview of the big picture of climate change that we are facing this year and likely into next. The existing conditions are possibly going to make the upcoming ones worse. The fact that the Pacific waters are 7 degrees above normal is astonishing, and that Puget Sound waters are up to 4 degrees warmer adds to that impact. We need to get very serious about the drought’s impacts, and having just passed the city street sweeper machine, out using drinking water to wash the edges of our roads, makes it very frustrating that our city government is so cavalier with water when they are on the other hand asking us to conserve.

Scientists say they are concerned about the continued ecological effects of the unusually warm and dry conditions in the Puget Sound region this summer.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/weather/the-blob-warms-puget-sounds-waters-hurts-marine-life/?utm_source=Sightline%20Institute&utm_medium=web-email&utm_campaign=Sightline%20News%20Selections

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

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

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

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

How algae blooms could take mussels off the menu – Christian Science Monitor

This article swings around from India to Puget Sound, it’s a bit all over the map, literally. But take it as you read it. I think that the point is that continued algal blooms are increasing the incident of red tide, and that if this continues it may be harder and harder to grow shellfish for the size of the commercial markets.

New research suggests that climate change could cause massive poisonous algae blooms, depleting already limited shellfishing industries. Could the solution be something as simple as seagrass? Joseph Dussault reports. (Christian Science Monitor)

http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2015/0706/How-algae-blooms-could-take-mussels-off-the-menu

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