While redundant, many of you might not get or see this newsletter. It seems appropriate to reproduce the letter from Executive Director Tony Wright (who is in the process of transitioning out). This is a good wrap-up of all the various projects that the Partnership is either monitoring or helping by finding funding for them though out the Sound and Strait. Good touchstone on the work that taxpayers are funding.
The 2013 legislative season is in full gear, which has our staff and many of you engaging in issues that protect and restore the health of Puget Sound. We are working with many of our partner organizations to educate legislators about the highest-priority investments that will restore the health of Puget Sound. For those interested in learning more, fact sheets are available for the following priorities that require support:
Steelhead recovery planning: $800,000 to help identify the major threats that are reducing juvenile steelhead marine survival rates and $1.2 million to develop steelhead recovery plans for 12 local watersheds that lack recovery plans.
Levee vegetation, floodplain restoration: $635,000 to fund two watershed pilot demonstration projects in King and Whatcom counties to help guide the development of prioritized capital projects focused on reducing flood risk and restoring floodplain and riparian habitat functions.
Puget Sound Acquisition & Restoration: $80 million to fund the most important, science-based, locally prioritized projects to restore Puget Sound habitat. Salmon recovery grants help remove barriers to fish migration, replant stream banks and replace dikes and levees, as well as create and purchase pristine habitat. Project sponsors are required to contribute to the cost of the program — leveraging local and state investments.
Estuary & Salmon Restoration Program: $10 million to provide funding and technical assistance for restoration and protection of Puget Sound beaches, bays and river deltas. This Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife program leads to healthy habitat for salmon by ensuring that shorelines are intact, functioning naturally and resilient to climate change as well as provide opportunities for public access to Puget Sound’s shorelines.
You can read weekly legislative updates at http://www.psp.wa.gov, in the section titled “Legislative Updates,” where we will keep you updated on issues impacting Puget Sound recovery.
A PEEK INSIDE PSP
Want to track Action Agenda progress? We have a new tool for you …
The Action Agenda Report Card helps the Partnership track progress on work necessary to meet the 2020 recovery goals for Puget Sound. This online tool is available to the public and provides a transparent and accessible way to gauge progress in implementing the Action Agenda. The website tracks all 199 Near Term Actions, showing for each: current status, essential milestones and performance measures, reasons that progress may not be on track and the corrective actions required, and any differences between the funding necessary to complete a task versus the funding that is actually budgeted. The Action Agenda Report Card will be updated with information from our partners on a quarterly basis.
Action Agenda Report Card: http://gismanager.rco.wa.gov/ntaportal
Gearing up to assess, respond to risks from increased vessel traffic
Several commercial maritime projects have been proposed for northern Puget Sound and southern British Columbia over the next decade, potentially increasing the amount of oil being transported and adding many hundreds of deep draft ship transits through the area. The Partnership, with the help of the Puget Sound Harbor Safety Committee, is leading stakeholder efforts to update the region’s Vessel Traffic Risk Assessment, through a Partnership grant to George Washington University. The local maritime community, including leaders from the U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Ecology and Makah Tribe, seeks to use the study to examine the relative difference between current and projected risks, and establish a well-accepted basis for making decisions on what risk management measures might be beneficial in managing traffic and mitigating the risk of spills—at present—and into the future.
The risk assessment effort was profiled in a front-page article in The Seattle Times last month:
Derelict Vessel Removal Program needs funding to deal with big ships
In a perfect world, boat owners would take care of their property and there would be no drifting, beached, broken-up or sunken vessels threatening human safety or the health of aquatic habitats. But the reality is, it does happen, and when an abandoned vessel sinks or breaks up and spills fuel, we all pay the price. This is why the Washington Department of Natural Resources, the Partnership and many others are supporting bills (House Bill 1245 and Senate Bill 5663) that emphasize the need for a long-term, sustainable funding mechanism to remove large derelict vessels. Recreational boat owners already pay a fee on their annual vessel registration fees to help manage the derelict vessel program, but these funds are quickly eaten up by the costs of dealing with larger boats and commercial vessels. We need to ensure that larger, high-risk boats are responsible for more of the prevention bill, as it tends to be much more expensive to deal with those types of boats when they become derelict.
Department of Natural Resources news release: http://www.dnr.wa.gov/RecreationEducation/News/Pages/2013_02_14_dvrp_nr.aspx
Seattle Times editorial about derelict vessels: http://seattletimes.com/html/editorials/2020288388_editderelictvesselxml.html
PARTNERS IN ACTION
New rules: Poulsbo first Kitsap city to complete shoreline planning
The City of Poulsbo will be operating under new city shoreline rules after Wednesday, Feb. 27, as a result of final approval by the Washington Department of Ecology. Poulsbo is the first local government in Kitsap County to complete the shoreline planning process, which will guide future development over nearly four miles of city shoreline. The effort, which included a series of public hearings, began in the summer of 2009.
To read the entire Kitsap Sun article: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2013/feb/23/state-approves-poulsbo-shorelines-plan/#axzz2LqEc1RSL
‘River of Kings’ documents Nisqually salmon recovery efforts
The Nisqually watershed will be featured on KCTS-9 from 7 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27, as part of Carl Safina’s “Saving the Ocean” series on PBS. The two-part “River of Kings” documents how habitat, tribal culture, hatcheries, harvest, hydropower and stormwater relate to salmon recovery efforts. PSP Leadership Council member Billy Frank Jr., the Recovery Council’s David Troutt, Nisqually Tribe Natural Resources staff, the Partnership’s Jeanette Dorner, partners working on rain garden projects in Eatonville and others are featured.
Removal of Budd Inlet creosote pilings to benefit salmon and herring
Good news in Olympia: Department of Natural Resources, the Squaxin Island Tribe, the Port of Olympia, the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group, and private landowners have teamed up to clear toxic derelict pilings and other structures from much of the southern end of Budd Inlet in Olympia. Creosote-treated pilings and structures in Budd Inlet leach pollutants, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), into the area’s marine environment. These highly toxic chemicals are harmful to marine life. For example, creosote is known to reduce salmon growth and affect their immune systems. PAHs also affect the forage fish that salmon eat, such as herring, which is one of the Vital Signs tracked as part of Puget Sound recovery.
Read the news release: http://www.dnr.wa.gov/ResearchScience/News/Pages/2013_02_07_budd_inlet_nr.aspx
Read the article in The Olympian: http://www.theolympian.com/2013/02/07/2413588/budd-inlet-relieved-of-creosote.html
Reopening of Irondale Beach County Park adds valuable habitat
A Jan. 24 ribbon cutting ceremony celebrated the completion of cleanup and restoration work at the former Irondale Iron & Steel site, coordinated by Jefferson County Parks and Recreation with help from the Department of Ecology. The site was home to an iron and steel foundry from 1881-1919 and was used as a log storage yard from the mid-1970s to 1999. Jefferson County purchased the site in 2001 to use as a recreational area, but after a visitor to the park noticed an oily residue on the beach in 2005 the park was placed on the State’s Contaminated Sites List. A total of 12,779 tons of contaminated soil was excavated and removed from the site for disposal. The Irondale story shows how federal, state and local governments, tribes, environmental agencies and volunteers are working together to make Puget Sound recovery a reality. Approximately 1.29 acres of new intertidal habitat and 1.65 acres of new backshore beach habitat have been created by the cleanup activities at Irondale Beach County Park. Ecology also worked with state and federal agencies and tribes to identify and protect structures of historical significance.
Read more about the project: https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/gsp/Sitepage.aspx?csid=4484
Read the article in the Peninsula Daily News: http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20130125/news/301259984/cleaned-irondale-beach-county-park-reopens-amid-cheers
Mussel study investigating shoreline contamination patterns
The Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Puget Sound Assessment and Monitoring Program Toxics in Biota team has wrapped up a large-scale field effort as part of a pilot study to examine toxic contaminants in Puget Sound nearshore biota, using mussels as the indicator species. The goal of the Mussel Watch Pilot Expansion project is to evaluate the geographic extent and magnitude of chemical contamination in mussels and compare contamination patterns in mussels with adjacent shorelines, covering a wide range of land use types. Filter-feeding Pacific blue mussels, which act as natural sampling devices to collect contaminants from the water, were placed throughout the greater Puget Sound shoreline in mid-November. Staff and volunteers retrieved the mussels in mid-January and assessed for mortality and condition. The next step is to analyze mussel tissues for organic contaminant and metals. The results will help us better understand the degree to which animals living in nearshore habits are exposed to pollutants from stormwater and other sources. This project is funded by the EPA’s National Estuary Program and contributions from a network of local and regional entities interested in the status of pollution in nearshore biota living along their shorelines. Sampling results are expected to be released in November.
Preventing pollution, understanding pesticide uses
The Department of Agriculture and the USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service has mailed out surveys to more than 15,000 homeowners in the 12 counties that make up the Puget Sound region to gather data on the pesticides they use and how they use them. This survey was prompted by a 2011 study conducted by the Department of Ecology, which identified urban use of agricultural products as a potentially significant source of copper to freshwater and marine areas in the Puget Sound basin. Copper is a component of many common pesticides and is toxic to fish and other aquatic species. Young salmon, in particular, are especially susceptible to the effects of copper. While the state has data about pesticide use in agriculture areas, little is known about pesticide use by homeowners. Results are expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2013.
Read the entire news release: http://agr.wa.gov/News/2013/13-05.aspx
Volunteer programs supporting oil spill preparation, response get support
More than 20 billion gallons of oil and hazardous chemicals are transported through the state each year, presenting a significant risk of a major spill. The Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Puget Sound Marine and Nearshore Grant Program recently announced grants for programs that enlist volunteers in helping prepare for and respond to oil spills in marine waters. The four grantees are: The Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team, Seattle Audubon Society, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and Northwest Straights Foundation. Since 2010, this state grant program has received $12 million from the EPA National Estuary Program to support the Puget Sound Action Agenda. Funding has supported about 30 projects, ranging from eelgrass restoration to the removal of derelict fishing nets.
Read the entire news release: http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/jan2813a/
Grants awarded to protect critical coastal wetland habitat
Washington will receive a total of $7.5 million to conserve and restore coastal wetlands and their fish and wildlife habitat. The grants are part of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s $20 million in grants to conserve and restore coastal wetlands. Coastal areas comprise less than 10 percent of the nation’s land area yet support a significant number of wildlife species, including 75 percent of migratory birds, nearly 80 percent of fish and shellfish and about half of all threatened endangered species. These grants will be used to acquire, restore or enhance coastal wetlands and adjacent uplands to provide long-term conservation benefits to fish, wildlife and their habitat.
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will administer the grant for:
Fudge Point Shoreline Acquisition project in Mason County
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will administer the grants for:
Lower Dungeness Floodplain & Estuary Restoration project in Clallam County
Kindred Island Acquisition project in Pacific County
The Washington Department of Ecology will administer the grants for:
North Livingston Bay Wetlands project in Island County
Tarboo-Dabob Acquisition & Restoration Phase 3 project in Jefferson County
Snow Creek Salt Marsh & Near-Shore Restoration Phase 2 project in Jefferson County
Port Gamble Bay Shoreline Acquisition project in Kitsap County
Oakland Bay Estuary Conservation Phase 3 project in Mason County
Read the entire news release at:
Filed under: Puget Sound