Simulation shows how fast tsunamis could move through Puget Sound after ‘The Big One’ – The Olympian

Good new information on the danger of a tsunamis to us in the Salish Sea. This clarifies that you *have* to get to higher ground quickly, even if you think you are safe. Think about Kai Tai Lagoon and San Juan Avenue in Port Townsend. A fast moving 10 foot wave could easily swamp San Juan from both the North Beach side and the Port Townsend Bay side, coming at people from both directions as they were fleeing down San Juan. Don’t think it’s possible? Review the videos from survivors of the Japanese tsunamis.

The simulation shows 10-foot-tall waves or higher moving through Hood Canal.

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

Stormwater runoff is killing Puget Sound – The Herald of Everett

More on the unfolding challenge of stopping our flow of stormwater, created from the vast amount of paved surfaces in the region. Sharon Salyer reports. (The Herald of Everett)

 http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20141221/NEWS01/141229836

More time to comment on feds’ plan for Puget Sound salmon hatcheries – Skagit Valley Herald

There has been some controversy in the last year over steelhead and the hatcheries. I’ve covered the issue here if you wish to search for background info.

The public will now have until 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23, to comment on the draft environmental impact statement for Puget Sound hatcheries. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the public comment period extension Thursday. The agency decided to grant the extension in response to a formal request…. The draft report is available online at http://www.skagit.ws/NOAAsalmon. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

http://www.goskagit.com/all_access/more-time-to-comment-on-feds-plan-for-puget-sound/article_551deb80-70e8-11e4-b050-6737e129fea8.html

Feds to protect Puget Sound habitat for rockfish – Various sources

A small ray of good news shines through the bad this morning, as National Marine Fisheries has required that federal agencies take rockfish protection into their future planning, meaning that fishing, and other activities related to the species will need greater scrutiny before being allowed. This affects us here in Jefferson County, because our near shore activities, such as rule making with the Shoreline Master Program, includes protecting kelp beds and other shores where the fish might live and breed. Our local Marine Resources Committees are also gearing up to do kelp bed monitoring (there is a significant one off North Beach and the area around the lighthouse at Admiralty Inlet) over the next year. If you are wondering where the kelp beds might be, check out our new tool, SoundIQ that lists near shore areas. A link to it can be found at the front left side of this blog.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is set to designate about 1,000 square miles in Puget Sound as critical habitat for three species of imperiled rockfish. The habitat protection follows a 2010 decision to list yelloweye, canary and bocaccio rockfish under the Endangered Species Act. The agency says the rockfish are vulnerable to overfishing because they have long lives and mature slowly with sporadic reproduction. The designation will require federal agencies to make sure their actions don’t harm rockfish habitat. The rule is scheduled to be published on Thursday. The protected area will cover about 340 fewer square miles that originally proposed, excluding some tribal lands and military areas. (Associated Press)

This is one of the many press releases that were picked up by dozens of news outlets last night.

 http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/rockfish-11-12-2014.html

The entire document can be found at the link below. For those of you actively engaged in monitoring activities of kelp beds and also fisheries, this is worth reading or at least skimming. The science and the way that they made their decisions is found in the document.

Click to access rockfish_critical_habitat_2014.pdf

I want to thank Norm Baker of Sequim, who has worked tirelessly on this issue for years. He has been a key local contact for many of the bureaucrats in our state. He knows probably more than anyone around on the issue, and the benefits of this particular announcement.

Head Of EPA Tours Puget Sound, Supports Congressional Cleanup Caucus – KPLU

Hopefully we’ll see some meaningful action from her visit.

She’s been called President Obama’s “green quarterback.” Gina McCarthy is the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and she’s known for tackling sources of climate change. And now she’s shining a light on efforts to clean up Puget Sound. McCarthy met with government officials and community groups in Tacoma on Wednesday and toured Commencement Bay by boat to learn more about what still needs to be done. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

http://www.kplu.org/post/head-epa-tours-puget-sound-supports-congressional-cleanup-caucus

When the stars go out all along the coast – Crosscut

Another update on the mysterious and very destructive sea star wasting disease. Apparently there is a scientific paper out soon that might start to answer some of the questions on what and why.

Sea stars, the original “keystone species,” are melting into mush even on local shores where they previously seemed safe, leaving scientists puzzled… and worried.

http://crosscut.com/2014/06/30/puget-sound/120763/when-stars-go-out-all-along-coast/

 

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Citizen Scientists Asked To Help Search For #SickStarfish – Earthfix

This new crisis to our marine environment is spreading, and here’s a way you can help track it. From reports I’ve read, the root cause may be revealed in the next month. Scientists say they feel they are close to uncovering it. I’ll report on those findings as soon as I see them.

With thousands of miles of coastline in North America, scientists can’t be everywhere at once to keep an eye out for sick and dying starfish…. Puget Sound diver Laura James has built a new tool to make it easy for citizen scientists to help…. James and her dive buddy Lamont Granquist created a sick starfish website for tracking posts to social media sites like Twitter and Instagram. If divers, tidepoolers or beachcombers snap photos of starfish and add the hashtag #sickstarfish, their reports will automatically upload to the map. Katie Campbell reports.

http://earthfix.info/water/article/calling-all-citizen-scientists-in-search-for-sicks/

See also: Sea star wasting syndrome found in seven specimens in Freshwater Bay http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140131/news/301319969/sea-star-wasting-syndrome-found-in-seven-specimens-in-freshwater-bay

Report from the Front: Dan Tonnes on Rockfish Recovery & Critical Habitat in Puget Sound

From the 2013 NW Straits Annual Meeting. Dan Tonnes has worked for NOAA as a biologist since 1999, where he has focused on diverse issues, ranging from long-term watershed habitat conservation plans to fisheries management and research on nearshore estuary environments. Dan has a US Coast Guard Inalnd Master 100 Gross Tons Merchant Marine License and has worked as a boat captain on sport fishing boats in the Puget Sound and Alaska, as well as on passenger ferries and oil spill response vessels. He received his bachelor of Science in Environmental Planning from Seattle Pacific University and a master’s in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington. He is a Kinship Conservation Fellow.

Dan covered the spectrum of issues related to rockfish protection.

Will Hood Canal experience a fish kill this year? – Chris Dunagan

Chris Dunagan blogs: Are we about to see one of the infamous fish kills that we have observed in Southern Hood Canal in past years? I am unable to sound any alarms at this time, but if you live in the Hoodsport-Potlatch area or are scuba diving nearby, you might want to watch for dead fish on the surface, rockfish or shrimp swimming in shallow water, or wolf eels and octopuses acting strangely.

http://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2013/09/22/will-hood-canal-experience-a-fish-kill-this-year/#axzz2fh3OuE5Z

State Department of Natural Resources announces trial geoduck aquaculture lease initiative on state owned lands – DNR

It is not clear where these trial tracks are located. Expect followup when known.

STATE DNR ANNOUNCES TRIAL GEODUCK AQUACULTURE LEASE INITIATIVE ON STATE-OWNED AQUATIC LANDS

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today that it is initiating a small pilot program to allow geoduck aquaculture on a limited number of state-owned aquatic lands.

DNR anticipates entering into lease agreements with existing applicants once all environmental review and permitting processes are complete. This effort is a follow-up to commitments made by the agency in 2007. Numerous steps remain before active aquaculture would begin on public lands including potential site assessment; State Environmental Policy Act review; issuance of local government conditional use permits; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Title 401 permitting; and Washington Department of Health Certification.

In 2007, the Legislature established a geoduck aquaculture research program under Washington Sea Grant and established a regulatory advisory committee with participation from government, Treaty Tribes, and citizen representatives to help guide related research. DNR plans to require monitoring at geoduck cultivation sites on state-owned aquatic land to provide further opportunity to study the effects of geoduck aquaculture on the aquatic environment.

http://www.dnr.wa.gov/BusinessPermits/News/Pages/2013_08_02_dnr_announces_trial_geoduck_aquaculture_leases_nr.aspx

NOAA: Puget Sound Killer Whales To Stay Protected – AP

NOAA throws out the claims by the Pacific Legal Foundation (a conservative legal action organization that fights against environmental laws, among other issues), that that the Puget Sound Southern Resident pod was not unique. The people that funded this ought to replace their lawyers, who might have warned them that the argument was absurd and a waste of time and money.

SEATTLE (AP) — Killer whales that spend their summers in Puget Sound are a distinct population group and will remain protected under the Endangered Species Act, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Friday.

Read the whole story at:
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/noaa-puget-sound-killer-whales-stay-protected

Aerial Photos of Plankton Bloom in Puget Sound – Good, Bad, Ugly?

Chris Dunagan and the Kitsap Sun covers the aerial photography of “Eyes over Puget Sound” (EOPS) on the latest “Watching our Waterways”. EOPS is a DOE program to track the annual plankton blooms around the Sound. There is still no consensus about why these blooms are continuing to happen and apparently grow. Could it be simply natural? Are they expanding? Contracting? Is it caused by the continuing degradation of Puget Sound? As an example, the paper mill in Port Townsend pours 12 million gallons a day of very polluted water into the Bay, legally. While we won’t get into whether this is “good” or “bad”, whether this is causing these blooms by destroying water quality, is unknown, even after 40 years of the Clean Water Act.

What all this seems to show is that data gathering is still the basis for scientific and political action. Without properly funding data collection, the legislature will continue to lurch from crisis to crisis and throw money at the news headline of the day, without knowing whether it is going to do any good at all.

You can read the story on this at:
http://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2013/06/20/plankton-bloom-in-puget-sound-art-on-the-water/#axzz2WrC5frLF

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Possible new protections for Octopus in Puget Sound – Ashley Ahern at Earthfix

Right now it’s not illegal to hunt octopus in Puget Sound – unless you’re in a marine preserve or conservation area. In fact, if you have a state fishing license you can kill and harvest one every day. But the killing of a giant Pacific octopus off Alki Beach in Seattle last October prompted a public outcry. Hundreds of scuba divers and members of the public submitted petitions to the state of Washington asking for better protection for the giant Pacific octopus in Puget Sound. The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has responded, approving four possible management plans for consideration and public comment. Ashley Ahearn reports.

New Protections Proposed For Octopuses in Puget Sound

http://earthfix.opb.org/flora-and-fauna/article/new-protections-proposed-for-octopuses-in-puget-so/

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