The Giant Flea Hunt – NY TImes

While it’s in the NY Times, this story is actually from Gig Harbor. A funny tale about how to catch one of the worlds’ largest fleas, which happens to live around here! Thanks to Jerry Gorsline for forwarding this on to me.

GIG HARBOR, Wash. — In the Pacific Northwest, we live among behemoths — snowcapped volcanoes, towering trees, great splashing salmon and lattes as big as a child’s head. Yet one of the region’s undeniably superlative titans has slipped beneath everyone’s radar.

Read the whole story here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/29/science/the-great-giant-flea-hunt.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3As%2C%7B%221%22%3A%22RI%3A7%22%7D&_r=1

 

Social Octopus Species Shatters Beliefs About Ocean Dwellers – National Geographic

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)

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140728-social-octopuses-animals-oceans-science-mating/

Peninsula marine life centers losing sea stars to mysterious disease – PDN

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)

Read the rest of the story at the Peninsula Daily News. Subscribe and support local journalism.

http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140728/NEWS/307289990/peninsula-marine-life-centers-losing-sea-stars-to-mysterious-disease

This week…VOTE

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.

http://www.lcv.org/elections/environmental-facebook/derek-kilmer.html

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.

Vote backgrounds

http://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/51516/derek-kilmer/30/environment#.U8075OZdXhA

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:

http://kathleenkler2014.com/about-kathleen/

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.

 

A poopy promise: B.C. premier vows sewage treatment for Victoria — someday – Seattle Times

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)

http://blogs.seattletimes.com/opinionnw/2014/07/28/a-poopy-promise-b-c-premier-vows-sewage-treatment-for-victoria-someday/

Biologists track fish recovery in tough conditions on Elwha River – 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)

Read the whole story and subscribe to the Seattle Times. Support local journalism and jobs.

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2024180269_elwhafishxml.html

EVENT: Public Open House for Pit To Pier – August 4 – 5:30 to 8PM

Ok folks. Time to make sure your position is heard on Pit to Pier.

HCC PTP Ad Final

Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award Now Open for Nominations

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, info@ptmsc.org 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.

Discovery Bay closed to shellfish harvesting as diarrhetic shellfish poisoning risk rises – PDN

Discovery Bay has been closed to recreational harvesting of all species of shellfish because of the risk of diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, Jefferson County Public Health announced Thursday. (Peninsula Daily News)

Read the rest of the story here:

http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140725/news/307259972/discovery-bay-closed-to-shellfish-harvesting-as-diarrhetic-shellfish

Who Feeds Us Matters: Fishers and Farmers Taking Back Control of the Food Supply —Interview w/ Niaz Dorry

Fish and how they’re caught aren’t always included in the ‘alternative food movement’. But in some communities, “community supported fisheries” or CSF’s are catching on. Similar to “community supported agriculture” or CSA’s, the goal is to reclaim local sovereignty and food justice. Martha Baskin reports. (Green Acre Radio)

http://www.prx.org/pieces/125581-who-feeds-us-matters-fishers-and-farmers-taking-b

Once-common marine birds disappearing from our coast – Seattle Times

For many years I’ve been commenting to friends that I felt I’ve seen a substantial drop in shorebirds around Port Townsend, and on the coast in general. It appears I unfortunately may be correct.

“Scoters down 75% from the 1970’s. Murres have dropped even more. Western Grebes have mostly vanished…”

Craig Welch reports for the Seattle Times.

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2024155783_birddeclinesxml.html

Signup up for Citizen Action Training School

Citizen Action Training School (CATS) sessions are coming up this fall on the Olympic Peninsula (September) and in Everett (Olympia). CATS sessions include 12 weeks of class and field instruction on local watershed and Puget Sound ecology, as well as guidance about civic engagement around natural resources issues.  For more info or to apply, see www.pugetsoundcats.org <http://www.pugetsoundcats.org>  or email cats@n-sea.org.

North Olympic Sierra Club weighs in on PUD race

Received from the S.C.

The North Olympic Group of the Sierra Club is following closely the race for  Jefferson County PUD Commissioner, District 2. Recently, the PUD has assumed the
role of an electric utility but has fallen far short of what citizens had hoped for when  Jefferson County voted to establish its own pubic electric utility and to end its
longstanding relationship with Puget Sound Energy (PSE).For this reason we think it’s time for new PUD leadership. We encourage Sierra Club
members to support candidates in the primary who understand the importance of  environmental and conservation issues and the important role the PUD can play in
developing a long-range strategy that emphasizes affordable and environmentally  sustainable energy for Jefferson County. After the Sierra Club North Olympic
Peninsula Political Committee Chairs interviewed all three candidates, we felt both  challengers–Tony DeLeo and Kenneth Collins–are worthy of your support in the
primary.

Since taking on the responsibility of a power utility, the PUD has sent hundreds of disconnect notices to lower-income citizens because it failed to continue the
financial assistance programs PSE had in place for helping people pay their winter heating bills. Additionally, the PUD is faced with the prospect of turning back
hundreds of thousands of dollars earmarked for conservation by the Bonneville Power Administration because of a failure to publicize and aggressively market
these programs. Finally, despite the fact that Jefferson County has one of the highest solar adoption rates in the state, the PUD has failed to make solar one of its
priorities. This is particularly important in light of the fact that, depending on the year, from 10-20% of the PUDs electricity comes from nuclear and coal sources that
need to be phased out. It’s time for a change.

Tony DeLeo’s blogspot provides more voter information. You can view his profile and where he stands on local issues by clicking on this link:
http://deleo4pud.blogspot.com/. Kenneth Collins has provided more voter information at his website. You can view
his profile and where he stands on local issues by clicking on this link:

http://kennethcollinspud.com/

Lowest tides of summer coming up this week leading to prime shellfish gathering – Seattle Times

Get out and clam! Great thing to do with kids too. Get them out from behind the computers.

The next upcoming low tide series in Puget Sound and Hood Canal for gathering clams and oysters begins Wednesday, and this will be some of the most extreme leading to widespread beach exposure of the summer even for the elusive geoduck. Mark Yuasa reports. (Seattle Times)

 http://blogs.seattletimes.com/reeltimenorthwest/2014/07/08/lowest-tides-of-summer-coming-up-this-week-leading-to-prime-shellfish-gathering/

 

Kilmer urges EPA to seek end to Victoria dumping untreated sewage into Strait of Juan de Fuca  – PDN

Long overdue. Thanks to Rep. Kilmer for making this an issue.

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer has urged the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to stress with the Canadian government the importance of a quick solution to the continued dumping of untreated sewage near Victoria into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Kilmer, a Port Angeles native and Gig Harbor Democrat whose 6th Congressional District includes Clallam and Jefferson counties, sent a July 3 letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy asking that she raise with the Canadian government the need for “a speedy resolution” to Victoria dumping about 34 million gallons of raw sewage per day into the Strait directly across from the North Olympic Peninsula. Jeremy Schwartz reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140709/news/307099986/kilmer-urges-epa-to-seek-end-to-victoria-dumping-untreated-sewage

Enviro agency spent $27,000 in tax dollars on anti-dog poop music video – Watchdog Washington

So while I can certainly argue that they might have been able to get this done for a lot less money, the goal of the Partnership is to help clean up the Sound, and the problem of pet poop is a big one.

Critics are outraged after learning that a government agency tasked with cleaning up Washington’s Puget Sound spent $27,000 on an anti-dog poop rap video…. The Freedom Foundation, a government watchdog based in Olympia, criticized the Puget Sound Partnership, saying that the hip hop video is just the latest piece of evidence that the group spends tax dollars recklessly. Dustin Hurst reports. (Watchdog.Washington)

http://watchdog.org/158626/dog-poop-seattle/

As a method of comparison, I did this free public service video for WSU’s Beach Watcher program a few years ago. It’s not the greatest work I’ve ever done, but the budget was zero and we were highlighting the original song of Steve Urbanic.

https://vimeo.com/26983098

 

Project manager: New state, Navy conservation easement for areas of Hood Canal won’t halt pit-to-pier – PDN

If nothing else, this is likely to stall the Pit To Pier project for the next decade while it goes through the courts. Thanks to Charlie and the PDN for covering the story.

A conservation easement between the state Department of Natural Resources and the Navy that prohibits industrial development along areas of Hood Canal won’t stop a gravel-moving facility nicknamed the “pit-to-pier,” the project manager said. …Charlie Bermant reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140710/NEWS/307109987/project-manager-new-state-navy-conservation-easement-for-areas-of

Washingtonians Could Safely Eat More Fish Under New Water Pollution Rules – Earthfix

Another good step by Governor Jay Inslee. This decision has been a tough problem that he has had to balance against industry, like Boeing. This is positive. Now the work and money has to be put forward to actually implement the rain gardens and permeable pavement that he wants to see put in place to help.

Washington’s pollution standards would be made much tougher — making water clean enough that people can safely eat a daily serving of fish — under a plan laid out by Gov. Jay Inslee. The governor announced Wednesday that he wants Washington to use the same fish-consumption standards that guide water pollution rules in Oregon….

 

 http://earthfix.kcts9.org/water/article/washingtonians-could-safely-eat-more-fish-under-ne/

Craft beer breweries straining Vancouver sewage system  – CBC

Another water pollution issue that needs to be addressed north of the border.

Trouble could be brewing for the B.C. Lower Mainland’s burgeoning craft beer industry, as Metro Vancouver claims microbreweries are overwhelming the sewage system. The region wants bylaw changes that could force brewers to pay to deal with organic matter produced through fermentation, saying many of the new businesses are pumping out more than just great suds. (CBC)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/craft-beer-breweries-straining-vancouver-sewage-system-1.2703147

DNR signs historic easement agreement with Navy

This is huge. The key takeaway, “The practical effect of the agreement will be to preclude new, nearshore commercial or industrial construction along the areas of the Hood Canal and neighboring waterways where the Navy operates for the next 55 years.”

More analysis will be forthcoming.

NEWS RELEASE

July 7, 2014
COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC LANDS PETER GOLDMARK SIGNS CONSERVATION EASEMENT WITH U.S. NAVY
Easements On State-Owned Aquatic Lands In Hood Canal To Buffer Navy Operations

OLYMPIA – Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark has signed a conservation easement with the United States Navy that will conserve and protect more than 4,800 acres of Hood Canal aquatic lands.

“This agreement will buffer important military operating areas in Hood Canal and ensure the long-term stability of the Navy’s presence at Naval Base Kitsap, which will sustain the jobs that depend on the Navy’s continued presence in the region,” said Commissioner Goldmark, the statewide elected official who administers the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “This agreement will also provide new protections for sensitive marine ecosystems and safeguard public access to Hood Canal.”

“The Navy is pleased to have reached an agreement to purchase a restrictive easement over DNR-owned bedlands in the Hood Canal because this transaction allows us to protect these ranges and military operating areas for the next 55 years,” said Naval Base Kitsap Commanding Officer Capt. Tom Zwolfer. “These ranges and military operating areas are crucial for military readiness and national defense. This transaction represents a substantial step toward readiness sustainment for the Navy.”

The easement will not permit new construction by the Navy, nor will it affect public access, privately owned lands, recreational uses, or aquaculture or geoduck harvest. The practical effect of the agreement will be to preclude new, nearshore commercial or industrial construction along the areas of the Hood Canal and neighboring waterways where the Navy operates for the next 55 years.

As steward of more than 2.6 million acres of state-owned aquatic lands, DNR ensures that the people of Washington benefit from the use of aquatic lands while also ensuring environmental protection of the state’s aquatic resources.
Environmental Leaders Praise Historic Agreement
Since 2012, DNR and the Navy have been engaged in a collaborative partnership with environmental non-profits including The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Trust for Public Land (TPL) to conserve vital aquatic and upland habitat along Hood Canal. Though this specific easement is executed exclusively between the Navy and DNR, its completion is complementary to the many projects successfully completed in partnership with TNC and TPL.
“With this action, we are changing the future for Hood Canal,” said Mike Stevens, Washington state Director for TNC. “Commissioner Goldmark and the Navy have shown profound foresight and historic leadership by preventing destructive development across a huge swath of Puget Sound bedlands. Orcas, oysters, and people should all rejoice.”
“This is a win-win-win for Hood Canal’s natural resources, its traditional economy, and the Navy’s vital mission delivery,” said Paul Kundtz, Washington State Director of The Trust for Public Land. “We congratulate Commissioner Goldmark, the team at the Department of Natural Resources, and the US Navy on another significant success in our ongoing efforts to conserve the Hood Canal.”
“I’m sure I speak for all members of the Hood Canal Coalition when I say that we are delighted that Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark and the United States Navy have been able to conclude this historic agreement to protect Hood Canal,” said John Fabian, a retired Air Force Colonel and NASA astronaut who leads the 600-member Hood Canal Coalition.
Media Contact: Matthew Randazzo, Senior Advisor to the Commissioner of Public Lands, 360-902-1099, matthew.randazzo@dnr.wa.gov

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