If recent octopus discoveries have taught us anything, it’s that these eight-armed ocean dwellers are smart. They can use tools, change color in an instant, and commission their arms to solve problems. But they generally do all this as loners. Now, new research into a surprisingly social octopus is shattering even the most expansive ideas of known octopus behavior. Katherine Harmon Courage reports. (National Geographic)
Visitors to the North Olympic Peninsula’s two major marine science centers are likely to see few sea stars. Sea star wasting disease, which has decimated wild populations, also is tearing through captive collections. The disease has accelerated this summer, said staff members at both the Feiro Marine Life Center in Port Angeles and the Port Townsend Marine Life Center. Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daily News)
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Have you sent in your ballot? Time to get it done! And help a neighbor remember too!
The primaries are on. For Jefferson County, there is a bit of confusion as the Republicans have vanished and “independents” are now the label that they are taking. But let’s look at some of the races.
US. House of Representatives. Derek Kilmer
Derek has done an admirable job of navigating the House of Representatives, which are currently controlled by a radically anti-environmental group of Republicans who insist on trying to overturn key legislation, or open more locales to mining, fracking and the like.
The League of Conservation Voters has a good overview of his voting record here.
Derek has teamed up with Republicans to create a bi-partisan Puget Sound Recovery Caucus, to continue to fight for funding to promote Sound cleanup.
While I applaud the idea of the Green Party coming to the field with Doug Milholland, I would not recommend voting out a successful and proven Congressman with an unproven candidate, no matter what his promises might be. If the current position was filled by an anti-environmental legislator, then I would be seriously considering Mr. Milholland’s candidacy. I attempted to get an interview with Mr. Milholland but apparently we were unable to connect in the last two weeks.
State of Washington House of Representatives. Steve Tharinger and Kevin Van De Wege
Both these candidates have proven themselves to support environmental law and policy. I have met them over the years, and witnessed them working. I fully support their return to office over any of the possible other candidates.
Jefferson County Commissioner District 3 – Kathleen Kler.
Ms. Kler is the hand picked replacement for a very supportive environmentally oriented Commissioner, John Austin. While I have only interviewed two of the other candidates, their lack of depth and experience in environmental issues, and their focus on jobs over all other issues, leaves me coming back to the fact that Ms. Kler has worked closely on a number of issues throughout the County as documented on her web page:
She is endorsed by the Jefferson County Democrats, which also means that she has proven herself adept at working with large diverse groups. With the County Critical Areas Ordinance up for revision during the next term, it’s important to have a clear environmental supporter on the Commissioners, along with the current two.
Public Utility District #2 Ken Collins
I think it’s time to swap out Mr. McMillan after the disaster of the switch over to the PUD. Low income people have had their power cut during winter, billing was poorly executed, and support of environmentally friendly power generation is put on the back burner. A lack of sensitivity to the customer permeates the current PUD, and Mr. Collins brings experience dealing with other power and energy companies, and also a commitment to help serve low income population, which comprises a large percentage of the county.
If you ever needed proof that the only way to judge a politician is by their actions not their words, this is it. The likelihood of the Federal Government of Canada ending federal funding because of the sewage problem, is zero. Talk is cheap, action is hard.
“We have made it clear that sewage treatment will happen. That is not up for debate. Failure to comply with these obligations would result in the possible loss of provincial and federal funding, as well as other potential penalties under federal and provincial laws. Thank you again for writing, and I am pleased to provide you with this response.” — British Columbia Premier Christy Clark. (Seattle Times)
From sonar to snorkels, biologists are using a range of tactics to keep track of fish recovery under way on the Elwha River. The last of two fish-blocking dams are expected to be out as of mid-September, a major milestone in a $325 million recovery program for the river…. As the concrete tumbles, biologists from state and federal agencies and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe are working under difficult conditions to learn how recovery is progressing. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)
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If you have a person you want to nominate, please do so soon.
The Port Townsend Marine Science Center is seeking nominations for the 2014 Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award. This award recognizes significant contributions in the protection and stewardship of our North Olympic Peninsula natural environment. The award pays tribute to Eleanor Stopps whose vision, advocacy and determination exemplify the power and importance of citizen leadership.
From the 1960s through the 1990s Eleanor Stopps was an active member of the NW conservation community. Eleanor founded the Admiralty Audubon Chapter and took over the work of Zella Schultz to protect the nesting habitat for 72,000 pairs of seabirds nesting on Protection Island. She was also a tireless educator working with groups of students and Girl Scouts to raise environmental awareness. Eleanor Stopps recognized the need to protect the uniquely important marine environment of theSalish Sea. With no special political base or powerful financial backers she formed a coalition of grassroots supporters who worked to get legislation and public support for protection of Protection Island and the surrounding marine waters. She was a primary driver behind the establishment of the Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge, one of the few established by an Act of
Congress at that time. Today, it is a critical habitat link in the preservation of the whole Salish Sea region, providing breeding habitat for Pigeon Guillemots and Rhinoceros Auklets Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons, Harbor Seals and Elephant Seals and a myriad of other species.
The Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award is given annually to a citizen of the North Olympic Peninsula (Jefferson and Clallam counties) who has:
Led a successful resource conservation effort that benefits the north Olympic Peninsula and its residents directly;
Acted as a community catalyst for programs, initiatives or ventures that demonstrate a commitment to the future of
the earth and its biodiversity;
Become a model for future leaders in business and education; or has been an exemplary citizen or policy maker who
has implemented decisions that, though they may entail risks, have helped our communities take the next step
towards environmental sustainability.
Port Townsend Marine Science Center is pleased to sponsor this award and invites nominations so we can continue to recognize positive leadership. You may nominate someone by downloading the nomination form from http://www.ptmsc.org, email@example.com or calling (360) 385-5582 and requesting a form.
NOMINATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY EMAIL OR BE RECEIVED IN THE
PTMSC OFFICES AT FORT WORDEN BY 5:00 PM AUGUST 27
Winner(s) will be honored at the PTMSC Stewardship Breakfast at the Fort Worden Commons at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, October 1, 2014.
Previous winners include: 2005: Katharine Baril, natural resource educator and planner Washington State University; 2006: Anne Murphy, Executive Director, Port Townsend Marine Science Center; 2007: Tom Jay and Sara Mall Johani, artists and environmentalists; 2008: Al Latham, Jefferson County Conservation District Ranger; 2009: Peter Bahls, NW Watershed Institute; 2010: Sarah Spaeth, Executive Director, Jefferson Land Trust; 2011: Dick & Marie Goins, lifelong Olympic Peninsula salmon habitat restoration activists; 2012: Judith Alexander, community catalyst for NW Earth Institute, Local 20/20, and EarthDay EveryDay; 2013:Rebecca Benjamin, Executive Director, North Olympic Salmon Coalition.